When you go to work on an oil rig or shipping vessel, you expect to put in long hours and bring home a decent income for your family. You do not expect to sustain a severe, potentially life-threatening injury. Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario happens to thousands of workers every year.
If you have been injured while working on a shipping vessel or oil rig, you may be entitled to compensation. To claim it, however, you will need the assistance of a knowledgeable offshore injury attorney – like those here at the law firm of Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C.
Why You Should Hire an Offshore Injury Lawyer
At the law firm of Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. we are committed to working tirelessly on behalf of our clients. When you hire us to help you pursue compensation for your offshore injury, we will:
Process Your Case’s Paperwork Load
As you might expect, offshore injury lawsuits typically require quite a lot of paperwork. From the initial filing to the endless requests for evidence, the workload can sometimes feel neverending.
Fortunately, when you work with Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C., you won’t need to worry about your case’s heavy administrative burden. Our team of experienced attorneys and paralegals will take care of all of it on your behalf. When you work with us, you can be confident that all of your paperwork will be filled out accurately and filed on time.
Negotiate with the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Once your offshore injury lawsuit has been filed, you will most likely be approached by the other party’s insurance company with an offer to settle the matter out of court.
Unfortunately, the financial terms of their initial offer are likely to leave a lot to be desired. Should you wish to improve them, some negotiations will almost certainly be required.
Over the years, the attorneys here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. have negotiated with countless penny-pinching insurance companies. As such, we understand what they need to see and hear before they will improve their offers.
When you hire us, we will use all of our experience and expertise to try to land you a fair settlement deal.
Represent You in Court
Sometimes, insurance companies are unwilling or unable to offer fair settlement deals. Should this happen in your case, you will need to take your pursuit of financial restitution to court. There, a judge and jury will determine how much (if any) compensation you should receive.
The lawyers here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. have been representing clients in state and federal courtrooms for years. We know what it takes to sway a judge and jury. Though we can never guarantee a specific result, we can promise that, if your case goes to court, we will always represent you to the best of our abilities.
If you need a maritime injury attorney to help you fight for compensation after your offshore accident, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. in Houston, TX. Our lawyers have the knowledge and skill needed to take on just about any case – no matter how complex it may be.
Filing an Offshore Injury Lawsuit – Understanding the Law
Individuals who suffer an injury at a grocery store in Houston or a casino in Dallas can use Texas state law to file a lawsuit against the person who caused their accident. When a person is injured on a ship or oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, they are not covered by Texas law.
So, if they wish to claim compensation for their injury, they must usually do so under one of the following three federal laws:
The Jones Act
The Jones Act (or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) is a maritime law that grants “seamen” the ability to sue their employer if they are injured while working offshore in U.S. navigable waters. To be classified as a Jones Act seaman, a crew member on a ship must:
- Play a significant role in operating the vessel and achieving its mission
- Have a direct and substantial connection to the vessel
- Spend at least 30 percent of their time contributing to the operation of the vessel
As part of their pursuit of compensation under the Jones Act, a seaman must prove that their employer acted negligently by:
- Failing to provide them with a reasonably safe place to work, and
- Failing to use ordinary care to maintain their vessel and keep it in a reasonably safe condition
Under general maritime law, a seaman who successfully sues their employer is entitled to maintenance and cure. These payments are intended to help the injured worker pay for their medical bills and cover their cost of living until they can recover.
Injured seamen may also be entitled to compensation for the following damages under the Jones Act:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Generally speaking, the more severe and long-lasting a seaman’s injuries are, the more compensation they are likely to receive.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act gives maritime workers who are not classified as seamen the ability to pursue compensation for their injuries. A short sampling of individuals who may be covered by this law would include:
- Longshore workers
- Harbor workers
- Ship mechanics and engineers
For the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to apply, the injury to the maritime worker must take place in one of the following locations:
- The navigable waters of the United States
- A dock
- A pier
- A terminal
- A wharf, or
- Any other adjoining shipping area
Marine workers who receive compensation under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act typically receive similar compensation payouts to seamen who file under the Jones Act.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act essentially extends the protections offered by the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to non-seamen who are employed on the Outer Continental Shelf. Oil rig workers who are injured on the job can generally pursue compensation under this law.
Individuals who are injured while working on wind turbines, artificial islands, and floating drydocks may also be covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The personal injury attorneys here at Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. in Houston are well-versed in every aspect of maritime law. If you would like to help you pursue compensation for your offshore injury, please reach out to us today to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.
Common Causes of Offshore Injuries
Oil rig workers and shipping vessel crew members can be injured in a wide variety of different ways. A brief list of some of the most common causes of offshore injuries would include:
- Fires and explosions
- Slips and falls
- Malfunctioning machinery
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Shifting and falling objects
No matter how your injury occurred, the Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. team would love to meet with you to review your case and let you know if you are entitled to compensation. To set up a free consultation, just give us a call or contact us online.
Statute of Limitations for Offshore Injury Compensation Claims
According to U.S. law, individuals who wish to claim compensation for their offshore injuries must do so before their statute of limitations expires. Should they fail to do so, they will almost certainly lose their right to file suit against the person or business that caused their maritime accident.
The length of time that injured maritime workers have to begin the legal process is almost entirely dependent on the federal law that they will be filing their lawsuit under:
- The Jones Act: The statute of limitations for Jones Act claims is generally three years. However, if the plaintiff is filing suit against the United States government, this window is reduced to two years.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for claims made under this law is one year. However, if the claim is due to an occupational disease, this window is extended to two years.
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act: The statute of limitations for OCSLA suits is determined by the state that is adjacent to the offshore structure. If the adjacent state is Texas, the statute of limitations is two years.
In most cases, the statute of limitations clock begins ticking on the day the accident occurred. However, if the victim’s injuries were not discovered until weeks or months down the line, the countdown timer instead starts on the day they are diagnosed.
Would you like to have a member of the Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. legal team review your case and let you know your filing deadline? If so, just give us a call or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced maritime attorneys.
Houston’s Premier Offshore Injury Attorney
When seamen and oil rig workers need an offshore injury lawyer to help them fight for compensation, they know that there is only one law firm they need to turn to – Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C..
Our team has been working tirelessly on behalf of our valued clients for years – and we would love to do the same for you. To get started, all you need to do is pick up the phone, give us a call, and schedule a consultation at our Houston law office.