If any of your friends or family members has been involved in an offshore accident and you think it’s the fault or mistake of the employer, you can hire the survives of an offshore accident lawyer. In this guide, we are going to work you through the process of getting a good offshore accident lawyer, what you can do to avoid offshore accidents etc.
What Is an Offshore Accident?
An offshore accident occurs when something goes wrong on the open sea. The oil and gas sector is usually involved in these catastrophes. Fortunately, various state and federal regulations exist to assist injured individuals in receiving compensation for their offshore mishaps.
Thousands of seafarers, dockworkers, commercial fishermen, and oil rig workers are critically injured or killed each year. These injuries, which typically occur on open-sea vessels (oil platforms, barges, and so on), are referred to as “offshore mishaps.” Offshore accidents are unlike most other kinds of mishaps in that they frequently involve little-known state and federal laws.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which was later portrayed in a film starring Mark Wahlberg, is arguably the first event that comes to mind when you think of offshore mishaps. Accidents like the Deepwater Horizon disaster are unfortunately more prevalent than you would assume.
Employees of offshore oil and gas exploration businesses are seven times more likely than the ordinary American worker to be killed on the job. The average annual mortality rate for US workers is 3.7 per 100,000 workers, but the average annual fatality rate for offshore crew members is 25 per 100,000 workers.
Read also: How To Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Common Causes Of Offshore Accident
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which was later portrayed in a film starring Mark Wahlberg, is arguably the first event that comes to mind when you think of offshore mishaps.
Working in the offshore oil and gas industry is inherently risky. Furthermore, according to one research, oil and gas businesses aren’t doing a good enough job of keeping their workers safe and are frequently cited for workplace safety infractions.
The following are the common causes of offshore accidents:
Transportation is to blame for the bulk of tragic offshore oil and gas accidents. This can range from cargo boats capsizing in rough seas to transport helicopters being struck by lightning.
Workers in the oil and gas industry are frequently exposed to hazardous chemicals and other substances for long periods of time. Continued exposure to hazardous chemicals on oil rig sites has been linked to life-threatening illnesses like leukemia, cancer, paralysis, and chemical burns.
Traveling derricks, hefty lifts, rotating chains, hoists, and drills are all used by oil and gas personnel on a regular basis. The machines could be used in unsecured areas or safety precautions could be disregarded, increasing the danger of injury.
Because personnel operate on elevated platforms, falls are common in the oil and gas industry. Harness failure or incorrect rigging methods, slipping over chemicals or tools, and being struck by equipment are all common reasons of such falls.
According to federal labor data, the oil and gas business has more deaths due to explosions and fires than any other private industry. This is most likely owing to the presence of extremely flammable chemicals and gas aboard oil and gas rigs.
How To Avoid Offshore Accident
Even under the best of circumstances, working on an offshore oil rig is a dangerous job. That is why smart businesses place such a high value on safety. According to the CDC, offshore oil rig death rates have consistently declined over time as a result of a rising “safety first, job second” strategy.
Oil rig injuries and fatalities continue to occur, whether as a result of exposure to dangerous chemicals, falls, wellsite fires, explosions, or contact with equipment. Here are some ways to stop offshore accidents from happening.
Develop a Safety-First Mindset
Workplace safety, especially on oil rigs, must be a top priority that encompasses the thinking, attitude, and behavior of all employees, supervisors, and managers.
As a result, it’s in your best interests to remind everyone on the rig — employees and subcontractors alike — of the significance of maintaining a safe working environment, which includes adhering to all safety rules and regulations and remaining vigilant to potential risks.
Setting a benchmark for safety is always aided by leadership that “walks the walk.” Workers will follow management’s lead if they are committed to safety. Workers, on the other hand, will not buy-in if they do not see their superiors following policies and procedures.
Before being allowed on the rig floor, all new and transferred rig workers need complete a necessary orientation, such as SafeGulf or IADC RigPass. Employees and contractors will become more familiar with corporate and rig operational regulations, expectations, and workplace rules as a result of this orientation, resulting in a safer work environment.
Always Train Workers
Following orientation, follows training, which is a continuous process rather than a one-time event. It offers instructions on how to operate the machinery and equipment as well as safety procedures. Consistent employee training indicates your commitment to safety and is another method to establish a safety-first mentality.
Put On Required Protective Equipments
Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses, hard hats, gloves, steel-toed boots, respirators, and fire-resistant clothing is required at all locations. That isn’t to say that all rig workers are required to wear them. A decent rule of thumb is that if you don’t have the proper PPE, you won’t be allowed on the job. To avoid harm, you must use high-quality protective gear. Wearing the equipment and not needing it is preferable than not wearing it and wishing you had.
Communicate Safety Regularly
Weekly or monthly safety meetings are a great method to create a safety mindset among employees. Rather than lecturing, engage everyone in interactive small group discussions and allow time for questions. Making safety policies available online and on print, as well as using your intranet to discuss best practices, updates, and news, are other ways to convey safety.
Ensure You Maintain All Machineries
Maintain machinery on a regular basis to avoid early failure, which could pose a hazard, and rapidly repair or replace damaged or malfunctioning parts and equipment. It is irresponsible and unnecessary to put workers in danger because of a worn-out item that could break at any time. Maintaining the equipment’s integrity ensures a safer working environment.
(Another way to develop a safety-first culture is to implement a mechanical integrity program that includes inspection, testing, and quality assurance in accordance with BSEE SEMS II (30 CFR 250.1916).) Ascertain that all equipment complies with industry standards (such as API, ABS, or DNV) and is kept in good working order to meet any requirements.
Everyone on the rig, including subcontractors, must have safety as their top priority. Only hire people with a proven track record of safety, and refuse to put anyone on the rig who does not. Give them the same orientation and training that you would give to your regular staff.
What You Should Know Before Hiring an Offshore Accident Lawyer
Are you looking to employ an offshore injury lawyer? That’s excellent, but before you go out and hire the first guy you see, there are a few things you should know. Many lawyers who give offshore injury legal support, for example, have no prior experience in this subject.
This means you’re being represented by someone who doesn’t know any better than the average person, but if you know how to spot the bad apples, you’ll be alright. We’ll go over everything you need to know about hiring an offshore injury lawyer in this article.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal legislation that governs maritime commerce, as well as the maintenance standards for shipping operations and boats, as well as the rights of crew members.
According to the act, negligence claims must be filed if an injury occurs as a result of the negligence of coworkers or the employer. If the accident is caused by unsafe vessel conditions, the shipowners may be held accountable as well.
In the event that a crew member is harmed, the statute protects them. Offshore crew personnel working on dredges, diving vessels, chemical ships, boats, tankers, cruise ships, semi-submersibles, drilling rigs, barges, cargo ships, towboats, tugboats, fishing vessels, and offshore supply vessels are all covered by this act. However, inland river laborers are also affected.
Dockworkers, seafarers, and gas industry/oil employees labor in perilous situations along the coasts of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and other states, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
Many injuries and accidents can have life-altering implications because of the nature of this employment. Injuries can sometimes be lethal. So, if you or someone you care about has been killed or injured, you should take advantage of the Jones Act.
Some Employers Refuse To Help Injured Employees
Employees obtain maintenance and cure from their employers under the Jones Act. However, this assistance is insignificant. Even so, some firms would outright refuse to assist their injured workers.
In rare situations, an employer may attempt to pay a lesser maintenance rate than is required to meet living expenses. In other cases, the employer may postpone the payment of the purpose. If this occurs, you must immediately inform your firm.
Employers may also attempt to limit cure payments. For example, your employer may try to get you to see the company doctor rather than referring you to someone who is qualified to treat your problem appropriately. They may also refuse to pay for additional costly testing to diagnose the problem.
You must be able to choose your health-care provider. If you’re being bullied, we’ll make sure you get the medical attention you need to heal from your injuries.
Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer
To know if your offshore accident lawyer is competent for the job, you must ask the following questions:
What’s the experience of the lawyer in handling Maritime and Jones Act injury claim?
Injury claims involving the Jones Act and the maritime industry are governed by stringent state and federal rules. Because these issues can be fairly complicated, you’ll want to be sure you’re working with a lawyer who not only knows the law but also knows how the industry works.
What good is it if your firm doesn’t know how to advocate the interests of wounded workers? Litigating cases against industrial monopolies can be difficult, but an experienced lawyer will know how to make a strong case. It requires tenacity to take on the lawyers who are on retainer for big companies.
Can the offshore accident lawyer handle my case if I stay in another state?
Maritime injuries and accidents occur all across the country and the world. When dealing with a maritime injury, you will need to find a lawyer who will represent you regardless of where you live.
It’s hard to find nationwide representation, but if you can, that’s even better. Offshore injury legal firms are frequently licensed to practice on both coasts, which means that their lawyers will be able to fight for your rights no matter where you are. Even if that doesn’t work out, they frequently have excellent ties with other skilled lawyers across the country who they can suggest you to.
How easy it is to reach the lawyer?
When you’ve been in an accident, you need to know that your lawyer will be there for you even when things are at their worst. Legal procedures and laws can be intimidating and perplexing, especially if this is your first time dealing with the legal system.
The client’s needs should always come first. If a lawyer is unable to assist you or give prompt assistance in a range of languages, you may be losing out on crucial portions of your legal process.
What will be the expenses and fees?
You should find out how much your lawyer will charge for their services. They may charge a set fee in specific circumstances. In other cases, they may bill on an hourly basis.
A contingency fee may be charged if you’re suing for personal injury damages. This means that if the settlement is successful, they will be compensated. Make sure you talk about all of the fees associated with your legal assistance. Expenses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. From photocopies to expert witness hires, we’ve got you covered. While your lawyer may not be able to provide you with an exact figure, you should have a better idea of the approximate cost.
List Of Top Offshore Accident Lawyers/Law firm
If you want to hire an offshore accident lawyer, you can contact any of the following law firms. They have good track record in handling offshore accident cases.
Montagna Maritime Law
You may be entitled for compensation under maritime rules if you were injured while working as a crew member aboard any vessel in any navigable water or on land working at a port. Our skilled marine attorneys will fight hard for your rights, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve so you can concentrate on what matters most: your health.
Montagna Maritime Law has been fighting for the rights of injured employees on the East Coast of the United States for over 50 years. We regularly represent members of the International Longshoremen Association, Master Mates and Pilots Union, National Maritime Union, and the Seafarers International Union of North America on tugs, barges, dredges, container ships, and fishing vessels.
Our marine lawyers have represented clients injured in a variety of maritime accidents, ranging from minor injuries to catastrophic injuries. If you’ve been hurt at work or as a result of your employer’s or others’ negligence, talk to one of our expert attorneys – we’re here to help.
Josh Fogelman and Aaron von Flatern met while working together at a small Austin litigation company, where they successfully handled a variety of complicated issues and formed a close bond. Working together, Josh and Aaron realized they shared similar values when it came to personal injury law: that people whose lives have been unexpectedly disrupted should be treated with respect and transparency, and given the best chance to pick up the pieces and move forward.
As a result, Josh and Aaron established FVF in 2014 with the goal of educating injured Texans so that they can better understand their options and make informed decisions. Our ultimate goal is to transform the public’s perception of personal injury lawyers and restore faith in this field of practice by taking on this mission one person at a time. We’re here to assist you.
Morrow & Sheppard LLP
Our Houston personal injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP are dedicated to leveraging our legal skills and experience to help regular people. We spent many years in prestigious law companies before founding our firm, where we successfully climbed to partnership position through our hard work, talent, and dedication. While we had achieved considerable professional success, we felt it was time for a change: we wanted to devote our legal careers to assisting regular people and small businesses who needed highly qualified legal assistance.
We were acutely aware of how difficult it may be for ordinary people and small businesses to fight against giant corporations and insurance carriers during our many years of legal practice. We obtained the legal skills and know-how essential to fight for individuals and small businesses as former partners at firms that represented large corporations and insurance companies.
We have not only represented large corporations, but we have also defined their legal strategies and built strong connections with the important persons who have the authority to resolve major lawsuits. This insider knowledge and insight is critical to our current practice. Whether we’re representing a person injured in a major marine disaster or assisting a small firm with a breach of contract claim, we draw on our past experiences to help our clients achieve favorable results.