Louisiana Offshore Accident Lawsuits
- Offshore workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. due to the numerous hazards, negligent employers, and harsh conditions that cause maritime accidents.
- Offshore accidents can cause minor to fatal injuries that have widespread and often lifelong effects on injured workers and their families.
- An offshore injury attorney can determine which maritime laws apply to an accident claim and ensure victims are properly compensated.
Why Hire HHK for Your Offshore Accident Lawsuit
The New Orleans offshore injury attorneys at HHK have recovered over $35 billion. We’re proud of that number because we know firsthand how devastating maritime and offshore accidents can be for the victims and their families.
Offshore professions are dangerous even when owners and employees follow all the rules. As offshore accident attorneys, we have seen the disastrous and catastrophic consequences that happen when rig owners and operators cut corners to save a buck.
At HHK, our Louisiana offshore accident lawyers understand and have the necessary experience to navigate the complex maritime laws that apply to different types of offshore accidents. We take great pride in helping clients with offshore injuries because we know how important it is to protect their rights, get the compensation they’re entitled to, and hold negligent parties responsible. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Offshore Accidents FAQs
How Much Money Is My Offshore Accident Claim Worth?
Every offshore injury lawsuit is different, and many factors affect which maritime laws apply and the amount of compensation you may receive. When determining the value of an offshore accident claim, your attorney will calculate and factor in lost wages, lost work opportunities, medical bills, future expenses, medical needs, and even pain and suffering. The potential value of your claim won’t be known until you speak with an attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File an Offshore Injury Claim?
It depends. The laws that apply to an offshore accident claim have different deadlines that must be met, and failure to file within a certain time period may result in forever losing the right to seek damages. If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed as a result of a maritime accident, it’s essential to speak with an offshore injury lawyer immediately.
Can I Sue My Employer If a Co-worker Caused an Offshore Accident?
Yes. Offshore employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace, and specific maritime laws make them liable for the actions of their employees.
How Can I File an Offshore Injury Claim?
After being injured in an offshore accident, speak with an attorney before signing anything from your employer or their insurance company. Doing so may affect your ability to file an offshore injury claim. The best way to ensure you’re adequately compensated is to speak with an experienced attorney. They can walk you through the process, deal with insurers, and protect your rights by filing an offshore injury claim on your behalf.
Can I Seek Damages If the Weather Caused My Offshore Accident Injuries?
In most cases, yes. Several factors often contribute to the cause of an accident when poor weather is involved. While weather can be unpredictable at sea, the decision to work in certain conditions and the safety protocols that should be followed when employees are working in harsh weather matters greatly in offshore injury claims. Even the decision to leave the port to transport offshore workers to job sites is important and should be examined when an accident occurs. The actions of other employees are another factor. Regardless of the weather at the time of an accident, a maritime injury attorney can review your case and determine what, if any, damages can be sought.
Common Causes of Offshore Accidents
Many oil companies have very large budgets, but far too often, they cut corners on employee training, don’t supervise their employees, or intentionally choose to break maritime law, all of which can have deadly results. Not to mention, there are countless hazards and harsh conditions that cause offshore accidents each year.
The fact is many factors can lead to an offshore accident. Everyone is at risk in the industry, including oil rig workers and crew members on tugboats, pushers, or barges operating on the sea or any waterway in the country and those transporting employees to offshore work sites.
Some of the most common causes of offshore accidents include:
- Lack of training
- Inadequate safety measures and failure to meet safety regulations
- Failure to maintain, misuse of, and faulty equipment
- Poor weather
- Deck, electrical, and mechanical hazards
- Worker fatigue
- Improper storage of fuel or equipment
- Oil and gas leaks
Transportation accidents are the number one cause of offshore fatalities. Getting to and from an offshore work site requires battling harsh and often unpredictable weather. A recent example was the tragic Seacor Power accident in 2021. Only six of the 19 crewmembers were rescued after the lift boat capsized due to unexpected high winds and huge waves it encountered on its journey to a job site.
Ladders and decks are where countless slips, trips, and falls occur. Falling overboard, especially when harsh weather is encountered, is another type of offshore accident. If the sea is unruly, saving an offshore worker from being swept away and drowning can be extremely difficult.
Other types of offshore accidents include falling objects, being crushed by machinery or pinned between two items, and even collisions with other vessels or objects. Fires and explosions are not as common. However, when they do happen, they tend to be catastrophic, like the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
When negligence causes an offshore accident, it must be addressed, especially when it puts lives in danger. Holding employers to the standards and laws that exist to protect companies, employees, the environment, and the safety of anyone who may be affected by an accident is crucial. Our Louisiana offshore accident attorneys have helped injured workers in a range of situations get the compensation they deserve.
Types of Maritime Injuries
Whether you work on an oil rig or one of the many barges that transport goods up and down the Mississippi River, business owners have a duty to provide the safest possible working environment for their offshore employees. Unfortunately, not all owners behave responsibly, and traumatic offshore accidents happen that forever alter peoples’ lives. There are also many other dangers that maritime workers face every day that can cause serious harm.
Common types of offshore injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Loss of limb
- Compartment Syndrome
- Respiratory conditions
When a worker is injured offshore, the effects of the accident can take weeks, months, or even years to recover from. Time off work, grueling rehabilitation, surgeries, adjusting to new limitations, and psychological trauma can be overwhelming – and costly. Injured workers deserve compensation for the full impact a maritime accident has on their lives and those of their loved ones. An offshore accident lawsuit is often the only way to protect yourself and get the compensation you’re entitled to.
In the worst cases, offshore injuries are fatal, leaving families devastated by the loss of someone they not only loved but depended on, both emotionally and financially. Losing an income, the guidance of a parent or partnership of a spouse, and the emotional pain and suffering can be unmanageable, especially when the tragedy could have been prevented. By filing an offshore accident claim when a loved one is killed at work or getting to or from a job site, the surviving family can be properly compensated for their loss and ensure a financially stable future.
Offshore Accident Laws
Maritime laws provide offshore workers and their families with certain protections. They govern activities in navigable waterways and the sea and provide opportunities to recover certain damages for injuries sustained in an accident. The compensation from an offshore accident claim ensures workers can continue to support their families while unable to work. It also offers those widowed by these tragedies a means to provide for children left behind.
There are four potential avenues of recovery for most offshore accidents. Several factors determine what laws allow you to recover compensation for your injuries, namely where it happened and the type of work being performed.
The Jones Act
When an accident occurs on an offshore vessel, and the employer or another crewmember is negligent, the Jones Act allows those injured to file a lawsuit against their employer. Injured offshore workers must fit the requirements of a seaman under the Jones Act to file a claim.
This legislation makes offshore employers liable to provide a reasonably safe workplace. When they don’t, such as failing to supervise workers or not providing correctly maintained equipment, an offshore injury lawsuit may hold them accountable for damages. In most cases, offshore workers have three years to file a claim under the Jones Act.
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
When someone is killed in an accident in international waters (more than three miles offshore), the surviving family may recover damages under the Death on the High Seas Act. DOHSA allows compensation for pecuniary losses, which includes the loss of household services, guidance, and financial support. Damages recovered through DOHSA also cover the deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering.
General Maritime Law
In many cases, a maritime accident involves more than one applicable law. General Maritime Law allows claims to be made against the owner of the vessel the incident occurred on if it wasn’t seaworthy; owners are liable to ensure the vessel is in safe working order and fit for its intended use. When it isn’t, General Maritime Law allows injured offshore workers to seek compensation from the vessel owner for their injuries, as well as punitive damages.
Longshoremen & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
Industry employees who stay on land – those who load or handle cargo, build ships, and operate machinery for offshore companies – are also protected under the law. After all, maritime jobs of this kind can be dangerous like other offshore professions. The Longshoremen & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides coverage for medical fees, disability payments, and treatments to recover. It also provides death benefits to the surviving family when a worker is killed on the job.
What To Do When Injured in an Offshore Accident
When a maritime accident occurs and you’re injured, stop working immediately, even if it seems minor. Report the incident to your supervisor, who should complete an accident report and follow safety protocols.
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, request medical attention or ask for first aid. Note that you’re not obligated to see a company doctor. It’s worth visiting your own doctor, even if your employer’s medical staff examines you.
For your own evidence, take photos of your injuries and where the accident occurred. Write down what happened, the conditions when it happened, and who was there. Get the contact details of any witnesses.
Finally, don’t sign anything from your employer or their insurer until you’ve met with a Louisiana offshore injury attorney. Far too often, employers and insurance companies try to get those injured to sign or say something on record that will ultimately weaken their claim. But doing this is the biggest mistake you can make when injured offshore. Know that you have rights. An attorney can make sure those rights are upheld and that you’re fairly compensated.
Why You Need a Louisiana Offshore Injury Lawyer
In the aftermath of a maritime accident injury, your job is to heal. Most victims suffer both physical and emotional pain and trauma as a result of their accidents, and as you recover, you and your loved ones may face economic losses associated with your injury. If you’re unable to work for weeks or even more extended time, the sudden loss of a steady paycheck can wreak havoc in your life.
Money cannot fix everything, but it can help you and your family limit the financial impact of an accident and compensate you for its widespread effects on your lives. However, determining the value of your offshore injury claim and negotiating a fair settlement or winning your case at trial requires specific skills and extensive knowledge of maritime laws.
It’s essential to consult with a personal injury attorney with experience in offshore injury claims. Throughout the years, HHK has handled minor to catastrophic maritime accident cases, including the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These complex cases require a highly skilled legal team to ensure victims of preventable tragedies are compensated, drive accountability, and advocate to prevent more tragedies from occurring in the future. Our dedicated team is here to help. Contact HHK today to discuss your case.