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Injured in a Maritime Accident? Why You Might Need an Offshore Injury Lawyer

Despite advancing safety regulations, the rate of injury to offshore workers has increased by 21% in the past two years.

There’s no denying that offshore drilling and offshore fishing are lucrative industries. However, because of the environment and working conditions, they do carry a high amount of risk.

Were you recently injured in a maritime accident? Are you wondering if you should hire an offshore injury lawyer?

Keep reading to learn more about offshore accident lawyers, common injuries, and how to know when you need professional legal help.

What Does an Offshore Injury Lawyer Do?

What makes an offshore injury lawyer unique? Is it just a fancy name for a personal injury lawyer or a workers comp attorney?

Not exactly. The first thing you need to know is that the same laws (and rights) that apply on land are different at sea.

Maritime law, also called admiralty law, is a unique set of rules that’s completely different than other disability laws. These laws were designed to govern private maritime businesses (such as oil rigs or fishing), as well as accidents or offenses that occur on the open water.

An offshore accident lawyer has a thorough knowledge of these specific laws. Because they’re so intricate and unrelated to land-based law, most attorneys simply don’t have the know-how to successfully navigate maritime law.

Hiring a maritime accident lawyer ensures you’ve got someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of admiralty law, acts, and regulation. For a more in-depth look, you can read about this offshore injury lawyer and learn more about how they help clients who have been injured on the water.

What Are Some Common Offshore Accidents?

Oil rigs, ships, and other offshore environments are inherently risky settings. The most common accidents occur in one of these ways:

  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects
  • Slippery decks
  • Flammable materials
  • Corroded walkways or stairs
  • Manufacturing defects

In addition, some accidents occur through negligence, improper training, or lack of supervision. If your work area wasn’t clear of dangerous debris or some of your equipment wasn’t in safe working order, you have a viable claim for your injury.

The same is true if you were injured due to inadequate safety gear or you weren’t given enough time for rest or breaks.

What Are Some Common Injuries for Oil Rig Workers?

Most offshore injuries occur from slips, trips, falls, or falling items. Obviously, this can result in an array of different injuries, but the most common ones include:

  • Burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Crush injuries

Interestingly, 81% of offshore injuries affect the limbs, rather than the back, neck, or head. Still, injury to any of these areas can have devastating, long-term consequences.

Burns, for example, can leave behind life-ling physical and emotional scars. Spinal cord injuries can leave a worker partially or permanently disabled, without the loss of one or more limbs or even confined to a wheelchair.

Brain injuries can leave a worker with permanent cognitive impairment and neurological problems. Eye injury can affect the worker’s vision or even result in blindness. Crush injuries can cause irreparable damage to bones, joints, and ligaments, perhaps even resulting in the loss of a limb.

Even if your injuries weren’t severe enough to cause permanent damage, it could affect your ability to return to and safely perform your job. These are all factors you need to consider if you’re thinking of contacting an attorney.  

When Might I Need an Offshore Accident Lawyer?

Simply put, any seaman injured on a ship or another offshore facility is legally entitled to compensation for their medical and living expenses during their recovery. Maritime law requires this provision, known as “maintenance and cure,” to be paid to the worker by the employer and/or the employer’s insurance company.

Here’s the catch: Many employers and insurers only attempt to pay a fraction of what a worker is rightfully owed. Worse still, some deny an injury claim and refuse to pay anything at all.

To avoid damaging their profit margin (and their reputation), some employers will dispute a legitimate injury claim. They might even go a step farther and retaliate against the injured worker, getting him or her “blacklisted” from other maritime jobs.

Even if your employer isn’t playing dirty, the settlement offer you get is likely to be much less than you deserve. Insurance companies don’t want to pay a penny more than they have to, so lowball settlements are the norm. They often fail to factor in the very real costs of lost wages, future medical expenses, and emotional pain and suffering.

To summarize, you should speak with an offshore accident lawyer if:

  • Your injuries were severe
  • You’re suffering from partial or permanent disability
  • Your employer disputes or denies your claim
  • You receive a lowball settlement offer
  • You’re the victim of blacklisting or another form of discrimination
  • You were injured at a harbor or dock and you’re not sure of your rights

Most offshore injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay anything upfront. This can be a lifesaver if you’re currently out of work and worried about your financial resources.

Contact a Maritime Accident Lawyer Today

So, what do you think? Now that you’re more familiar with offshore accident lawyers and common worker injuries, is it time for you to seek legal advice?

Even if your injuries weren’t catastrophic, it’s never a bad idea to get counsel from a legal professional. Many injury lawyers offer free consultations to workers who have suffered injuries like yours.

It’s always better to be informed than caught unaware. Contact an offshore injury lawyer near you to discuss your case and ensure you clearly understand your rights.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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