Is an Oil Rig Injury Considered Workers’ Compensation?

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Injury claims in the oil and gas industry are highly complex because they overlap multiple state and federal regulations.

While injured workers can receive workers’ compensation, the laws are slightly different for oil rig and offshore workers.

The Jones Act provides compensation to injured maritime workers who fit the definition of a seamen.  A seaman spends a significant amount of time working on a vessel in navigation.  The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides compensation to harbor workers, shipbuilders and other maritime workers who do not fit the definition of a seamen who get injured while in the course and scope of their employment.  The Outer Continental Shelf Act provides compensation to workers who get injured while working on the Outer Continental Shelf on fixed platforms.

What is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act?

Workers offshore on fixed platform oil rigs typically fall under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The act established in 1953 protects workers who are within the geography of the United States at sea. It defines all submerged lands lying seaward for up to three nautical miles off state coastal waters as part of the U.S. territory, and provides workers with protections.

Under this act, workers can seek compensation for:

  • Medical Costs
  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Lost Wages
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and Suffering

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, sometimes referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law created to protect employees working offshore. Employees injured can sue their employer, which skips the usual protections of worker’s compensation.

The Jones Act gives employees the right to sue for negligence, while workers’ compensation allows employees to receive compensation without negligence being present.

To qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, the worker must spend a significant amount of their work hours at sea, and the ship must be in “navigation.”

Oil rigs are essentially large platforms, that usually are not in navigation; therefore, injuries that occur on the oil rigs themselves normally would not qualify under the Jones Act. However, the Jones Act is a complex area of law with a seemingly endless amount of circumstances that can trigger seaman status which would qualify under the Jones Act.

In some cases, the Jones Act does apply to offshore drilling, but it requires an attorney with experience handling these types of cases to determine if a worker could receive compensation.

Your attorney will use several factors to decide if you qualify, including:

  • How much time you spend at sea
  • The nature of your work at sea
  • Where you were injured

Bottom Line: You Have Options for Compensation

Instead of reviewing every federal act or state law yourself, speak with an injury attorney that focuses on offshore and maritime injuries. A New Orleans oil rig accident attorney can help you decide which act applies to your case and aggressively seek compensation for your injuries.

New Orleans Accident Lawyer Ready to Fight for YOU!

Contact Shlosman Law Firm in New Orleans for assistance with your oil rig injuries. Our team understands the complex laws surrounding these types of cases and we have helped countless workers just like you receive compensation for their on-the-job injuries.

Schedule a free case evaluation by contacting the office at 504-826-9427 or ask our team a question online.