As we all know, not all oil & gas exploration and drilling is conducted on land. Working on offshore oil rigs, drill ships, jack up rigs and platforms can be a dangerous occupation where explosions, fires, falls and equipment collapses can result in serious injuries and wrongful deaths to offshore workers such as tool-pushers, roughnecks, floor hands, cooks, and others on jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs and drill ships. Common injuries include falls and spinal injuries, back, neck and shoulder injuries while lifting, carrying and handling heavy equipment, hazardous and explosive conditions, dangerous transportation to and from rigs, bad weather aboard the rigs, leading to falls, electrocutions and blowouts that can result in crush injuries, paralysis, broken bones, burns, head and brain trauma and death.
Many oil rig, jackup rig and platform accidents are completely preventable when employers or third (3rd) parties involved in rig operations, take the appropriate steps to ensure the workers' safety. Oilrig and platform operators and employers like most employers like to maximize their profits and minimize the costs associated with injured workers and often tell the injured worker which set of laws apply, what to file, which doctors to see or even tell the injured worker that they are not entitled to a monetary remedy. Protect your legal rights, talk to an attorney. You only have one chance to get it right!
Maritime Law & Jones Act Legal Remedies May Apply in Offshore Rig Accidents
Seeking remedies for offshore accidents may fall under state based worker's compensation, The Longshore & Harbor Workers Act, under general maritime law and /or the Jones Act. This special maritime law called The Jones Act covers many offshore oil rig accidents if the rig or workplace is classified as a vessel, but not normally for accidents that occur on stationary platforms. Under the Jones Act, the law entitles injured offshore workers to compensation for their injuries from their negligent employers. Offshore oil rig workers covered by The Jones Act are eligible for "maintenance" (daily monetary compensation for food and shelter the worker was being provided aboard the rig) as well as "cure" (the medical treatment and services necessary as a result of the injuries sustained) up to the time the worker reaches maximum medical improvement. The worker is also entitled to recover lost wages.
Depending on the circumstances and the parties involved, an injured worker may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. Additionally, the owner of a jack up rig, drill ship, or semi submersible or other vessel can be held responsible for a worker's injuries if the rig was in an un-seaworthy condition at the time of the accident. Also if the oilrig's crew, equipment or operation were not reasonably fit when the accident occurred, the oil rig or vessel may be classified as unseaworthy. In that case the rig owner would owe the injured worker just compensation for his losses along with other personal injury types of damages. It is important to consult with an attorney to help navigate the accident facts and help determine which set of laws that apply to your accident.
In the event that an injured offshore worker does not qualify as a Jones Act seaman (such as some longshoremen, pilots or those working on fixed platforms), remedies for the worker's injuries may be available through standard workers compensation laws or increased benefits available through making a claim under the Longshoreman & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Offshore Drilling Rig & Jackup Rig Accident Injuries
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one killed on an offshore drilling rig, jackup rig, drill ship, barge, semi-submersible, inland barge, stationary platform or other oil field accident, oilrig or gas well drilling rig or any other type of oil field work, workover, well stimulation work, well fracking, pipeline or wireline work, then you should consult a lawyer that is experienced and knowledgeable in many types of offshore & inland rig accidents.