Hiring the right offshore accident lawyer is important if you or a family member has been hurt while working as a dock worker, seaman, or oil and gas industry employee. These jobs are very difficult and dangerous. You rely on your employer and other responsible parties to put in safety measures and make sure they are followed. Unfortunately, too many companies do not protect their workers. The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group will uncover any negligence that contributed to your injuries. We will fight to make sure you receive the money you need to pay your bills and move forward with your life. Call our Houston office at (713) 688-4878 for a free consultation.
What Damages Can I Get for My Maritime Worker Injuries?
As your offshore injury lawyer, our goal is to make sure that whoever is responsible is held accountable. We will make sure you receive the money you need to recover from your injuries and pay your bills. Damages you may be entitled to fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are pretty straightforward. They may include:
- Money for medical expenses: hospital bills, medical devices and mobility aids, medication copays, therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Money for expected future medical expenses
- Wages lost due to your recovery
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Loss of earning capacity, if your injuries will impact your ability to work over the long term or permanently.
Not all losses are clear-cut or obvious, of course. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for emotional pain and suffering, anxiety, and lower quality of life.
In some cases of extreme negligence, you may have to the right to punitive damages. These are designed to punish the plaintiff.
If you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act (see below), you may be eligible for benefits called “maintenance” and “cure.” Maintenance compensates the worker for the cost of room and board as they recover. Cure is the cost of the injured seaman’s medical expenses, along with the transportation required to get to treatments. Once the seaman reaches “maximum medical improvement” maintenance and cure benefits end. Maximum medical improvement means the person is as healthy as they are going to get, even if not fully cured.
What Is the Jones Act, and Does It Apply to My Case?
The Jones Act is also called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It is a federal law that gives seamen certain protections. It allows them to sue their employer if they are injured on the job due to the employer’s negligence.
- If you spend most of your time working on a boat or vessel “in navigation,” you may be considered a seaman.
- If you work on a vessel as a sailor, deckhand, diver, engineer, driller, mechanic, captain, mate, steward, cook, fisherman, or in another capacity, you may meet the definition of “seaman.”
- If you do fit the definition of “seaman” under the law, you are not eligible for workers’ compensation. You must seek compensation for your injuries through the Jones Act.
- Under the Jones Act, employers of seamen are required to provide a reasonably safe work environment and maintain the vessel in a reasonably safe condition.
- The Jones Act holds employers liable even if the injured worker contributed to the accident in some way.
- Examples of unsafe conditions that employers may be liable for include: broken or poorly maintained equipment, oil or grease on the deck, lack of proper training, lack of proper equipment, negligence of a coworker, assault by a coworker, failure to provide sufficient manpower, and failure to provide warnings about hazards known to the employer.
- Generally, you must file your Jones Act suit within three years of the date of the accident. (***Please note: Always speak directly with an attorney to understand the statute of limitations and any other deadlines that apply to your claim(s).***)
Even if you don’t qualify as a seaman according to the Jones Act, there are other laws in place that may apply to your case. These include the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. If your loved one was killed in a maritime accident, the Death on the High Seas Act may apply.
Serious head injury. Severe back injury. Burns. Loss of limb. Maritime worker injuries are often terrible, life-changing, and expensive. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job, you need a lawyer to guide you through the complicated laws. An attorney will help you determine the right channels through which to seek compensation for your losses. Don’t go about this alone.
How Much Is My Offshore Accident Case Worth?
It’s impossible for us to determine exactly how much your case is worth without meeting with you and researching your case. Even then, past recoveries cannot predict or guarantee future outcomes. There are many variables that help determine how much money you may receive:
- Your pre-injury salary
- Your medical bills and other expenses
- Your estimated future medical expenses
- Whether and when you will be able to return to work
- Your non-economic losses
- Whether you will pursue compensation through the Jones Act or workers’ compensation.
The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group look forward to discussing your case with you in detail. Initial consultations are free, and we don’t get paid unless you do. Call our Houston office at (713) 688-4878.
Why Do I Need an Offshore Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve suffered an offshore injury, a representative from your employer or their insurance company may approach you with an offer of money. In this stressful time, you may be struggling to recover and worrying about medical and household bills. It can be tempting to accept this initial payment. But while it may help out in the short term, you are throwing away the right to pursue further action. You will probably not receive the full amount you should for your injuries.
Only an offshore accident lawyer understands the laws in these types of cases. The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group have the knowledge necessary to identify all responsible parties and figure out the full scope of your losses.
Determining which laws provide protection to injured offshore platform employees can sometimes be difficult. The location and type of the platform, whether permanent or moveable, determines what law or laws may affect a claim.
Because of the dangerous work conditions and the heavy and awkward size of equipment and gear involved with working on offshore platforms, injuries are very common. But determining liability can be complicated. The injuries may be due to negligence of an employer, a contractor, employees of other contractors, or even the manufacturers of equipment involved in the injury.
Often, injured offshore workers do not know what steps they need to follow to protect their rights. In times like these, we understand that putting food on the table remains top priority. But without a lawyer, injured offshore workers run the risk of shortchanging themselves and their families.
How Our Team Helps Injured Offshore Workers
At the Waldman Legal Group, we have dedicated ourselves to fighting for hurt offshore workers and their families. We provide comfort and good advice during this difficult time. There are specific time requirements that must be met when filing these types of claims. Therefore, you must speak with an offshore accident lawyer from our office as soon as possible after the accident. Call us at (713) 688-4878 to schedule a free appointment.
What Should I Do (and Not Do) After My Offshore Accident?
When you’ve suffered a bad workplace injury, you may be in pain, worried about bills and your future, and just not thinking clearly. But what you do — and don’t do —in the immediate aftermath of your accident is important. It can have a very real impact on your ability to claim compensation for your injuries.
1. Do seek medical attention. No matter where you are or how serious you think your injury is, it is important that you get medical attention right after your accident. For one thing, your health and wellness should be your number one priority. Medical professionals can test for issues that may not be immediately noticeable. Also, we must have a solid paper trail of your medical problems and expenses when we file a claim. So either call your personal doctor or get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
2. Do inform your employer about your injury immediately. It is important that they know about the accident right away. This enables them to fix any safety issues and protect other workers. And it’s an important part of documenting your claim. Do not assume that coworkers will report your injuries for you. If at all possible, do it yourself. Even better, write a full report of the accident and your injuries on paper. Give one copy to your employer and keep one for yourself.
3. Do your best to document the accident. Take note of any witnesses. Collect their contact information. Take photos of the area where the accident happened and any relevant equipment and safety problems.
4. Speak to an attorney. A lawyer experienced in these types of cases can advise you on steps to take and mistakes to avoid. They will help you understand the complex law or laws that may apply to your claim.
5. Do not discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer. You must report your injuries to your employer, of course. But discussing your injuries with coworkers or others can backfire big time. Even the most offhand comment can be held against you in a court of law, should you sue your employer at a later date.
6. Do not sign anything given to you by your employer. Do not accept money from them or their insurance company. By doing so you may sign your rights away or accept a low settlement offer that is far less than what you deserve to receive. Always speak with a lawyer first.
My Loved One Was Killed in an Offshore Accident. Can You Help?
Sadly, offshore workers all too often pay the ultimate price — their life — while working in these challenging and dangerous conditions. Their families are left in shock, emotionally devastated, and in financial ruin. If their loved one’s death is determined to be the result of negligence, spouses, parents, and children of the worker may file for compensation under the Jones Act. They may receive money for losses including:
- Costs of their loved one’s pre-death medical expenses related to the accident
- Compensation for the pain and suffering their loved one endured before death
- Compensation for funeral and burial costs
- Reimbursement for loss of income due to their family member’s death
- Compensation for the financial support they would have received over their loved one’s expected lifetime
- Compensation for services their family member would have provided over their full lifetime.
In some cases, family members may receive compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act or under other maritime laws.
Speak with an Offshore Accident Lawyer at the Waldman Legal Group
If you or your loved one has been hurt in an offshore accident and you think it’s the employer’s fault, the attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group offer compassionate representation. We will fight to win you the money you deserve for your injuries. We understand maritime law and how to apply it to your case. We will thoroughly research your claim and make sure we don’t leave money you need for your recovery on the table. We negotiate hard — but aren’t afraid to go to court if that’s what it takes to protect your rights. We don’t get paid unless you do, and first consultations are free. You have nothing to lose. Call our Houston office at (713) 688-4878 to book an appointment.