Do You Need an Offshore Accident Lawyer?

Offshore accident is a term that applies to any time of accidental injury occurring on any type of vessel on the Sea.  The incident may occur on a ship of some sort, an offshore platform, on a dock or a helicopter transporting crew from and to land. It is important that you hire an offshore attorney that will thoroughly investigate the claim to determine who is liable and what laws apply.

Investigating the Claim

IMG_7655To determine which law applies, you need a lawyer who will thoroughly investigate the claim. Very detailed records and logs are kept by the companies in charge of offshore vessels. These records must be obtained and reviewed to determine whether proper procedures were followed. Moreover, in serious injury cases, nothing tells the story better than going to the scene and conducting an inspection.  At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. we can investigate the scene and retain and bring experts as required to get a full picture of what caused an event.

Maritime Accident Law

There is a large body of state and federal law applying to these types of claims.  Trying to navigate these laws without an offshore accident attorney is like trying to pilot the seas without a map.  You need an offshore accident attorney to help you determine which of the following laws apply to your case:

  • Longshoremen’s and Harbor Worker’s Act
  • Jones Act
  • State Personal Injury Law
  • Federal Tort Claims

Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

IMG_7641Under 43 United States Code, section 1333, subsection (b) and (c), Congress extended the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to cover employees other than “master members” of any crew or vessel who are working on the Outer Continental Shelf In the exploration and the development of natural resources. This is what is known as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. It provides for the payment of compensation for disability or death suffered while working on the navigable waters in and along the United States. It is effectively worker’s compensation for certain marine workers and many dock workers that are not otherwise covered by the Jones Act.

Jones Act

The Jones Act provides certain protections to workers on sea vessels which includes jack-up rigs and oil rigs that are not attached to the ocean floor such as floating oil rigs and drill ships. Under the Jones Act, covered employees can recover for pain and suffering, disability,medical expenses and lost wages. The worker’s offshore injury lawyer must show that the damages suffered were caused by the negligence of the employer. However, unlike all other areas of law, the burden of proof under the Jones act is lower than normal. It is considered a “featherweight burden” because you must only tilt the scales of justice in your favor by a featherweight to win. This gives the injured worker a major advantage.

Some accidents covered by the Jones Act are:

Offshore Injury and State Personal Injury Law

Offshore injuries that do not fall under the above laws may be covered by state personal injury law. The state law that applies is typically determined by the proximity of the accident. Because the laws vary from state-to-state and the above Acts may also apply, you should hire an offshore injury attorney to determine which avenues of recovery are available to you.

Statue of Limitations In Offshore Accidents

The Statute of limitations is a deadline by which your injury lawsuit/claim must be filed or you loose the right to bring it. Because offshore injuries may fall under different Federal and State laws, the statute of limitations may also vary.  You should consult an offshore injury lawyer immediately to determine your rights and limitations.  For more information, please read:

What Statute of Limitations Applies in Admiralty and Maritime Personal Injury Actions?

No Win No Fee

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., you don’t pay a dime unless we make a recovery for you. The initial consultation is absolutely free. Call us to speak with an attorney who will fight for your best interests today.