Working on a drilling rig or other offshore facility can be incredibly dangerous, and it is quite common for workers to sustain injuries. These injuries can be devastating, and when they happen, workers are often entitled to some form of financial compensation. However, offshore injuries are usually handled differently than other kinds of workers’ compensation claims.
Each of these serious injury cases comes with its own complications. That’s why you should consider seeking the assistance of an offshore accident attorney if you have been injured while working on a rig. An offshore accident attorney can help you navigate the law and help you secure the coverage you deserve.
General Maritime Law
There are three different laws to be aware of when it comes to offshore accidents. The first is general maritime law; ship owners are required to maintain a safe ship and are required to cover the expenses caused by any injuries to seamen. This law allows anyone who suffers an accident at sea to get relief, even when that individual is unable to file a claim under a federal statute.
If a worker is injured due to an inadequate ship, they can seek compensation for losses like lost wages, medical costs, and transportation. An “inadequate ship” may include a ship that’s unable to handle choppy water or a ship with faulty equipment or machinery. In either case, the worker can file a claim against the ship’s owner.
The Federal Jones Act
The Federal Jones Act is another law in place to protect offshore workers. This law allows you to file a personal injury suit against your employer if you are injured while working offshore due to your employer’s negligence. Like general maritime law, the Jones Act also allows injured parties to sue if they were injured due to an unseaworthy vessel. The Jones Act can be used in both federal and state courts.
It’s worth noting that the Jones Act has a three-year statute of limitations.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
First enacted in 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a law offering coverage for injuries sustained during the loading, unloading, and maintenance of a sea vessel, as well as offshore injuries.
While the law initially only covered injuries sustained at sea, it was later expanded to cover more types of claims, allowing some parties to file who would otherwise not be covered under the Jones Act.
Who Gets Coverage?
The Jones Act does not offer coverage to workers that are already covered under the state’s worker compensation laws, which may include:
- Office clerks
- Data processors
- Employees of clubs, camps, restaurants, museums, or retail outlets
- Aquaculture workers
- Non-construction marina workers
- Employees of transportation companies, suppliers, or vendors
What Coverage Is Available?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act offers compensation that is somewhat limited compared to other forms of personal injury claims. In most cases, this law can provide coverage for the following expenses, though an attorney may be able to help you find additional sources for further financial relief:
- Two-thirds of the worker’s lost wages or wage-earning capacity
- Compensation for lost limbs
- Compensation for medical bills
- Disability benefits
The disability benefits available to workers can be split into four categories: temporary total, temporary partial, permanent total, and permanent partial. The category your injury will fall into depends on its severity as well as your ability to recover and live a fulfilling life.
Get Compensation for Your Offshore Accident Injuries With the Help of Lapeze & Johns
If you’ve been injured at sea, you and your loved ones may be facing considerable expenses, as well as even more significant obstacles in the way of getting the financial relief you need. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you find the best path forward.
At Lapeze and Johns, we understand that the financial threat posed by even a minor injury can be severe. That’s why we are committed to fighting for justice for those who have been harmed by the actions or negligence of others.