Louisiana is known for its oilfield driven economy. It isn’t unusual for high school graduates to forgo college in search of offshore jobs with large oil companies. It is hard work, but pays incredibly well. These higher than average oilfield incomes attract a lot of attention. Many of our Louisiana friends and families count on the oilfield for offshore work.
The greater reward of an oilfield occupation carries with it considerable risk. Most offshore employees live on-site while working, they get exposed to incredible danger. Terrible weather and extreme heat are a part of everyday life. Hurricane season leads to constant uncertainty. Additionally, the nature of the job itself is very dangerous. Large tools and dangerous chemicals and pressurized equipment are everywhere.
Specialized training is a safety requirement before anyone steps on to an oil platform. The oilfield industry puts considerable effort into ensuring the minimization of risks. But no matter how much training employees receive, accidents can and will happen.
- Falling tools and debris
- Hits from cranes and large equipment
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falling overboard
- Exposure to toxic and caustic materials
- Extreme heat and wind
- Pinching and crushing injuries
- Objects striking the eye
It’s easy to see why deaths are seven times more likely to occur in this profession. There are a million ways to hurt yourself. Offshore workers are often subject to:
- Chemical burns
- Smoke inhalation
- Eye Injuries
- Burns from hot surfaces and fire
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Severe blunt trauma
Why do I need an offshore accident attorney?
The hazards of offshore work are numerous. Maritime laws concerning such work are complex and confusing. A talented offshore accident attorney can be a huge help in such trying times.
The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess have over 20 years of experience helping real people get real results. We offer a free initial consultation to review your case and to help you understand maritime law. Having a local firm handling things for you will also give you peace of mind. After all, who could better understand how important the oilfield is than a Lafayette offshore accident lawyer?
Your legal rights
By federal and state laws, seamen cannot file worker’s comp claims like a normal employee would. Maritime law and the Jones Act are in place to ensure that offshore workers are treated fairly.
The Jones Act covers any person spending at least 30% of their time working in navigable waters. It offers you coverage for any injury you suffer, including broken bones, back injury, neck injury, eye injury, head injury, hand injury, brain injury, burns and spinal cord injury. Your right to compensation may include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish/Emotional distress
- Loss of physical capacity
- Medical expenses
The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act covers employees that work at the docks. Shipbuilders and breakers, longshoremen, and harbor construction personnel are covered. This coverage includes medical costs of your injuries as well as missed income.
The Death on the High Seas Act is in place to cover funeral expenses and lost financial support should the worst happen. This act is in place not only for workers upon vessels working outside of the three mile territorial limit, but passengers as well.
Maintenance and cure is one of the most basic rights of an offshore worker. This is meant to cover medical expenses and transportation costs for medical appointments. Maintenance and cure enables a worker to have a way to pay the bills until work can resume.
The rights of offshore workers have not always been clearly laid out. In the past, offshore work was looked at as undignified and only fit for the lower-classes. Wealthy business owners would attempt get away with unsafe operations, exposing their employees to dangerous conditions, while making large profits. Fortunately, the political climate these days favors openness and safety minded operations.
Now more than ever, there is extreme social pressure on businesses to operate in an ethical manner. While social media and the news love to point out when a big company gets caught, it doesn’t seem to stop big corporations from trying to deny you your rights. If any of your rights as outlined in these acts has been violated and your employer’s HR department will not do anything about it, then it’s time to seek outside justice.
How does a lawyer defend your rights?
A major part of what makes an offshore case difficult is the specific offshore laws and the differences between them. For example, the Jones Act specifically covers seamen. A seaman must be working on a vessel at the time to be covered. Vessels include ships, barges, dredgers, tugboats, and oil rigs of any sort. Even a derelict boat in the process of repair or recovery still counts as a vessel.
Whether you are in shipping and transportation of goods or people or part of a maintenance crew, the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess have experience you can rely on. Your free initial consultation will cover the injury itself as well as the events leading up to it. The overall seaworthiness of the vessel will be investigated as well as maintenance and training records.
A vessel may be rendered incapable of being seaworthy by many means. Parts and machinery that do not fit, or work or negligence in repair are the obvious culprits. Most important is the training of any personnel aboard a vessel. The owning party of any sea craft has a legal obligation to properly train their staff.
Safety staff are required on each vessel to maintain safety and ensure correct training. Your offshore accident attorney will investigate safety and maintenance records as well as review any certifications. Before going offshore, make sure that your own certifications are up-to-date. The company operating the vessel will have their own team of lawyers doing their best to prevent their client from looking responsible for your injuries.
Offshore Accident Attorney
The fact that you will be facing off with a company or corporation in court makes seeking quality legal counsel highly important. You will likely be pressured or bullied by your employer to keep quiet. They may even threaten to take your job or make sure you cannot be hired by anyone else. These tactics are illegal and must never be threatened.
Money is often the first thing that comes to mind after an injury that prevents you from making a living. Just like any personal injury claim, medical bills will be piling up. Costly surgeries and procedures as well as stubborn insurance companies not wanting to pay for your medical costs may be in store. You may be tempted to settle or to give in to the pressure. You may even think you cannot afford an attorney.
You absolutely can afford a Lafayette offshore accident lawyer. Not only is the initial consultation free, but you can also take comfort in the fact that we are a no win/no pay firm. We are only compensated for success. The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess exist to give you peace of mind in troubling times.
No matter what your income or job title happens to be, there’s no need to tackle this alone. Let the our attorneys handle the heavy lifting. Our team of legal professionals is well-versed in the verbiage of admiralty law. We will not be confused by fancy words and will not be pushed around by corporate fat cats. Don’t Delay! Call Clay!
We can help in evaluating liability factors, such as: