The coastal waters of Louisiana play host to thousands of commercial fishing boats, ships, barges, oil rigs and jack-up boats. With multiple port cities, Louisiana workers fill hundreds of thousands of offshore jobs.
The offshore industry is unique. Offshore workers are in an extremely hazardous environment, doing dangerous work.
Professional medical treatment from doctors and hospitals are unavailable. Trained first responders can only provide so much assistance. Coast Guard response or helicopter evacuation is likely the best case scenario, but still not a quick response.
The fatality rate in the offshore oil and gas industry is 7x higher than any other industry in the United States. As the official most dangerous industry in the country, it’s not surprising when offshore oil and gas workers suffer from life changing injuries. Accidents inevitably accompany offshore work.
The cause, scale, and severity of accidents can vary. Equipment failure, human error, and environmental/weather conditions are the main cause of most offshore accidents. Exposure to caustic chemicals, pressurized equipment, and flammable/explosive substances are part of the every day offshore environment.
Offshore rig workers are on shift working for 12 hours a day, with seven, fourteen, twenty-eight day long hitches. They eat, sleep, work, and live in danger.
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The fatality rate in the offshore oil and gas industry is 7x higher than any other industry in the United States.
Offshore accidents have the potential to cause severe injuries or even death. Offshore injury cases are governed by specific maritime laws that are different from standard land accidents. Maritime law, or admiralty law, are the laws and regulations that govern offshore activities in navigable waters or on the open sea. These laws usually involve two categories; Maintenance and Cure, and The Jones Act. They both center around providing living expenses, medical care, and lost wages to seamen injured while working offshore.
Maintenance and cure is general maritime law. If you are hurt while working at sea, you are eligible for benefits no matter who was at fault in your injury. Maintenance and cure are benefits that an injured seaman receives from an employer during recovery.
These benefits include expenses such as rent, utilities, food and medical costs. You are eligible to receive this pay until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). The term MMI means full medical recovery with the approval of a physician to return to work.
Maintenance and cure also applies to sickness. If you become ill with a disabling illness or medical condition, you are eligible to receive maintenance and cure until you reach MMI. You are eligible for these benefits even if your condition was not work related.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is federal legislation that protects American workers injured at sea. It gives qualified seamen (or the surviving spouse/dependents) the right to file suit against their employer when crew members or ship owner’s negligence cause their accident or death.
Damages permitted under the Jones Act include medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, funeral expenses.
The Jones Act has multiple stipulations and requirements to qualify. Namely, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of your employer.
There is a statute of limitations of 3 years to file a claim under the Jones Act. With this in mind, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have an injury due to an offshore accident and are unsure whether you qualify, contact a New Orleans, Louisiana lawyer with experience in maritime law to evaluate your case.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess have the expertise needed to get you the compensation you deserve. Personal injury consultations are always free. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with a maritime attorney. Our New Orleans, Louisiana lawyers operate on a no win/no fee basis. If we don’t recover damages on your case there is no cost to you.