Offshore Accident Lawyers: Your Guide to Seeking Compensation After an Offshore Injury
Working offshore on an oil rig or maritime vessel can be dangerous. Many offshore workers are involved in accidents and suffer serious injuries each year. If you’ve been injured while working offshore, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Offshore accident lawyers can help you recover damages by building a strong case and negotiating with insurance companies. This guide will provide an overview of offshore accident claims and how an experienced lawyer can help maximize your settlement.
Common Offshore Accidents and Injuries
There are many hazards present in offshore work environments that can lead to catastrophic injuries, including:
- Falls – Falling from heights is a major risk on rigs and ships. Falls can result in broken bones, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and death.
- Fires and explosions – Flammable chemicals, gases, and confined working quarters can all contribute to devastating fires and explosions offshore. These incidents cause severe burn injuries.
- Chemical exposures – Toxic fumes or direct contact with hazardous materials can lead to respiratory problems, organ damage, and chronic illnesses.
- Struck by or caught between objects – Being struck by heavy equipment or getting limbs or body parts caught in machinery contributes to crushing injuries, dismemberment, and death.
- Electrocutions – Contact with live electrical currents and equipment can result in shock, burns, and fatal electrocutions.
- Vessel collisions – Supply boats crashing into structures or worker transport vessels sinking from rogue waves lead to wounds, hypothermia, and drowning.
In addition to physical harm, offshore accidents contribute significantly to chronic psychological issues like PTSD and depression. Seeking proper medical care and documenting injuries following an offshore accident is critical.
Why Hire an Offshore Injury Lawyer?
After sustaining catastrophic injuries offshore, the complex legal process ahead can seem insurmountable. An experienced offshore accident lawyer will handle all aspects of your case and fight to help you recover full compensation. Hiring legal representation provides many benefits:
- Maximum financial recovery – Laws limit liability for offshore accidents but lawyers use various strategies to pursue additional compensation sources and maximize your settlement. This provides you the finances needed for medical care and lost wages.
- Prove liability and negligence – Accident lawyers conduct thorough investigations, gathering evidence to build a case proving the company’s negligence caused your injuries. This includes obtaining witness testimony, videos, company documents, equipment records, and more.
- Negotiation expertise – Insurance providers will offer low settlement amounts hoping workers will accept out of distress and lack of knowledge. Lawyers have deep understanding of case values and legal processes to demand maximum settlements through experienced negotiations.
- Legal experience – Offshore accident cases involve complex maritime and general personal injury laws. Lawyers know how to navigate the laws, filings, and processes to give your case the best advantage. Their expertise avoids missteps that could weaken your claim.
- Allow you to focus on recovery – The legal process is stressful and time consuming. Lawyers handle everything so you can devote your energy to healing and getting back on your feet.
How Offshore Accident Lawyers Prove Liability and Demand Full Compensation
Specialized offshore accident lawyers use proven strategies to build strong cases for their injured clients. These include:
Conducting Thorough Investigations
Immediately after an accident, lawyers work quickly to preserve important evidence before it gets lost or destroyed. This includes:
- Interviewing eyewitnesses to establish what happened
- Reviewing all available video footage
- Securing maintenance records, safety audits, training manuals, and other relevant company documents
- Taking detailed photographs of the accident scene from all angles
- Inspecting and evaluating machinery or equipment involved
- Obtaining police, Coast Guard, and other official reports
Thorough evidence gathering provides a detailed picture of how the accident occurred and which parties may be liable.
Establishing Negligence and Breached Duties
Offshore companies and vessel owners owe workers various legal duties under maritime laws, OSHA regulations, and Jones Act provisions. When they fail to fulfill these responsibilities, they display negligence that contributed to accidents.
Lawyers establish breached duties by proving things like:
- Lack of proper staff training – Workers weren’t adequately trained on equipment or safety protocols.
- Failure to maintain equipment – Machinery that caused injuries hadn’t been properly inspected or maintained.
- Violating safety laws – The company skirted mandatory OSHA or USCG safety rules.
- Forcing unsafe work – Workers were ordered to take unnecessary risks despite dangerous conditions.
- Failure to provide safety gear – Workers weren’t given proper protective equipment.
- Permitting unsafe conditions – Hazards that could have been eliminated weren’t addressed.
Calculating Damages and Losses
Injured offshore workers are entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Lawyers gather evidence proving:
Economic losses –
- Medical expenses from hospital bills, surgeries, therapy, and prescriptions
- Lost income and reduced future earnings
- Loss of job benefits like healthcare and retirement matching
Non-economic losses –
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Lawyers total all past and future losses to demonstrate the full impact of the client’s injuries and demanded compensation amount.
Negotiating Fair Settlements
Once a case is fully prepared, offshore accident lawyers engage in demanding negotiations with insurance carriers. They leverage their evidence and legal expertise to secure maximum settlements, either through negotiation or lawsuit. Lawyers don’t stop fighting until clients receive the compensation they deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Offshore Accident Claims
Who can be held liable after my offshore injury?
Several parties may share liability for your injuries, including:
- The operator of the offshore platform, vessel, or fleet
- Equipment manufacturers
- Service contractors
- Individual supervisors or co-workers
Your lawyer will identify all parties who failed to uphold duties and contributed to the accident.
How much can I expect to receive in a settlement?
Every offshore injury case has unique circumstances that impact the potential value. Settlement amounts are influenced by factors like:
- Injury severity, duration, and required treatments
- At-fault party’s level of negligence
- Applicable insurance coverage amounts
- Lost income and impact on future earning power
- Maritime laws capping liability amounts
Experienced lawyers maximize recoveries by thoroughly documenting losses and strategically negotiating. Average settlements range from the tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
Who pays my settlement?
Your employer’s insurance policies typically cover offshore injury claims. This includes their commercial general liability, marine liability, and Jones Act employer’s liability insurances. Damages exceeding policy limits may be covered by additional liability insurances or the company’s own funds.
How long do offshore accident cases take?
It often takes 12-24 months from accident date to settlement. Complex cases with multiple liable parties, extensive injuries, or lawsuits may take longer. An experienced lawyer moves the case forward efficiently so you can recover compensation as quickly as possible.
Can I still get a settlement if I was partially at fault?
Yes, you can still recover damages. Under maritime law’s comparative negligence rules, if you were partially responsible for an accident, any settlement would be reduced by your percentage of fault. An attorney proves the company was predominately negligent overall.
Do I have to pay my lawyer upfront?
No. Offshore accident lawyers work on contingency fees. This means you don’t pay anything upfront and the lawyer only collects a fee from settlement funds after your case is successful.
Protect Your Rights After an Offshore Injury
Suffering catastrophic offshore injuries can completely upend your life. But you don’t have to try to handle the complex legal process alone. An experienced offshore accident lawyer will handle your entire case and fight relentlessly to help you recover the maximum compensation possible. Contact a dedicated lawyer today to discuss your situation and learn more about how their representation can benefit you after an offshore injury. With knowledgeable legal guidance, you can gain the resources and justice you rightfully deserve.