Do You Have a Claim? Find Out From an Experienced New Orleans Offshore Accident Lawyer
Offshore accidents are extremely common. While these accidents rarely make headlines, they are a regular occurrence in the Gulf of Mexico and other waters. If you have been injured working on a vessel, oil rig or platform, you have clear legal rights, and you should discuss your rights with a New Orleans offshore accident attorney promptly.
New Orleans offshore accident attorney Tom Shlosman has been helping victims of offshore accidents and other maritime accidents for more than a decade. If you are entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act, he can use his experience to fight for the compensation you deserve. Even though the Jones Act provides seamen with clear legal rights, asserting their rights under the law isn’t easy. As a result, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side.
Common Types of Offshore Accidents
All types of offshore accidents can leave crewmembers, riggers, operators, mechanics, engineers, technicians, captains and others suffering from serious injuries. Our firm represents individuals and families in all types of offshore accident cases. This includes (but is not limited to) accidents such as:
Cargo Ship Accidents
With their immense size and incredible storage capacity, there is a lot that can go wrong on today’s modern cargo ships. In heavy seas, shifting cargo containers are a very real concern, but serious accidents can happen in calm conditions as well. Slips, trips, falls, equipment malfunctions and a variety of other issues can – and frequently do – leave workers onboard cargo ships suffering from painful and life-altering injuries.
Commercial Fishing Vessel Accidents
Commercial fishing is big business in the Gulf of Mexico. While some commercial fishing companies have strong safety records, others do not. Failure to prioritize workers’ safety is a common factor in commercial fishing vessel accidents, and captains and fishermen often feel pressured to prioritize their companies’ profits over their own safety.
Crew Boat Accidents
Crew boats play an essential role in the offshore economy, transporting workers from the Port of New Orleans and other land-based facilities to oil rigs and platforms offshore. Unfortunately, safety is a significant concern with crew boats as well. Overloading boats with too many crew members, sending crew boats out into hazardous conditions to keep operations moving, and accidents while transferring crewmembers to rigs and platforms are all common causes of serious injuries.
Cruise Ship Accidents
While cruise passengers enjoy a life of luxury on the water, the same cannot be said for most cruise ship employees. Individuals who work in all occupations on cruise ships face a variety of risks on the job. Cruise lines are held to the same standards as other maritime employers, and if you have been injured or gotten sick while working on a cruise ship, you should talk to a New Orleans offshore accident lawyer about filing a claim under the Jones Act.
Working on a drillship also presents a variety of risks—although many of the risks here are different from those on cruise ships and other vessels. From negligent crane and drill operation to improper mooring and other forms of negligence, crewmembers on drillships are often helpless to protect themselves from accidents that lead to bone fractures, loss of limbs, brain trauma, and other severe traumatic injuries.
Drilling Accidents on Oil Rigs and Platforms
Along with drillship accidents, drilling accidents on oil rigs and platforms are common causes of offshore injuries as well. Oil rigs and platforms are highly complex. They have a lot of moving parts and a lot of crewmembers involved in various occupations. This means that the risk of being injured in an offshore accident is high, and crewmembers often won’t know what happened until it is too late to protect themselves.
Fires and Explosions on Drillships, Oil Rigs and Platforms
In addition to falls, collisions and other accidents on deck, fires and explosions are very real concerns on drillships, oil rigs and platforms as well. Fires and explosions at sea can put all crewmembers’ lives at risk, and they often result in severe burns and other life-altering (if not life-threatening) injuries. Inadequate attention to safety is a concern as well, and fires and explosions can also lead to injuries due to having too few lifeboats and other safety-related failures.
Offshore Construction Accidents
Accidents during the construction of offshore oil rigs and platforms are also common, and these accidents also often result in serious injuries. Falls, injuries from falling tools and construction materials, tool malfunctions, coworker negligence, and a variety of other issues can all justify claims under the Jones Act.
Shrimp Boat Accidents
Like commercial fishing, shrimping is also big business in the Gulf of Mexico. Also like commercial fishing, shrimping operations often result in serious injuries. If you have been injured while working on a shrimp boat, New Orleans offshore accident attorney Tom Shlosman can help you assert your legal rights.
Collisions involving commercial vessels and recreational watercraft present serious risks. But, the risks are especially severe when these collisions happen offshore. Injuries from collisions with objects onboard, near-drowning injuries from falling overboard, prop strike injuries, and other types of injuries are all common—and they can all leave victims facing serious injuries and in need of significant financial compensation.
Common Factors in Offshore Accidents
All types of offshore accidents can result from a variety of different factors. While the Jones Act entitles seamen to maintenance and cure benefits regardless of how they get injured (with a few rare exceptions), offshore workers can file claims for additional compensation when they can prove that someone else is responsible for their injuries. Some examples of factors that can justify these claims include:
- Being forced to work long hours or at a rushed pace
- Inadequate safety equipment on vessels, rigs and platforms
- Inadequate vessel, rig or platform maintenance
- Operating an undersized boat for the cargo or conditions
- Product defects and failures
- Slippery ladders, steps, and walking surfaces
- Unsecured cargo and items stored overhead
- Using poorly maintained tools, cranes, winches and other equipment
- Working in dangerous weather or sea conditions
- Working with inexperienced crewmembers or other coworkers
Again, these are just examples. Regardless of what happened and who (or what company) you think may be responsible, you should discuss your situation with a New Orleans offshore accident attorney promptly. It will be important to investigate the accident as soon as possible, and your attorney can walk you through everything you need to do to protect your legal rights.
What Are Your Legal Rights After an Offshore Accident?
In most cases, workers who get injured in offshore accidents will be entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act. Since workers’ compensation laws do not apply offshore, the Jones Act provides offshore workers with access to financial compensation when they get injured on the job.
But, the Jones Act is not like a typical workers’ compensation statute. While eligible offshore workers can claim maintenance and cure benefits without proof that someone else caused their injuries, these benefits are far less than the “no-fault” benefits available through workers’ compensation. But, while workers’ compensation laws typically prevent employees from suing their employers, the Jones Act allows injured seamen to sue their employers and vessel owners in many cases.
How Do You File a Claim After an Offshore Accident?
While the Jones Act provides seamen with clear legal rights, filing a successful Jones Act claim is not easy. There are both steps you need to take and mistakes you need to avoid, and you cannot trust your employer to pay the full compensation you are rightfully owed. To make sure you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled, you need to have an experienced New Orleans offshore accident lawyer on your side.
With this in mind, contacting a lawyer should be one of your first steps after an offshore accident. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible, and then you should work with your lawyer to determine what type of claim (or claims) you should file. Your lawyer can then handle your claim (or claims) for you, and you can focus on getting better while your lawyer fights for just compensation on your behalf.
Do You Need a New Orleans Offshore Accident Lawyer for Your Claim?
But do you really need a lawyer, or can you handle your case on your own? While you aren’t legally required to hire a lawyer, there are several important reasons to do so. An experienced New Orleans offshore accident lawyer can help ensure that you are seeking the maximum compensation available, and with contingency fee representation, it costs nothing out of pocket to make sure you assert your legal rights effectively.
Request a Free Consultation With a New Orleans Offshore Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an offshore accident, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To speak with New Orleans offshore accident attorney Tom Shlosman in confidence, call 504-826-9427 or request a free consultation online now.