Louisiana’s coastal waters see thousands of oil rigs, commercial fishing boats, ships, and barges. Many of our cities are port cities, so logically hundreds of thousands of Louisana’s workers are employed by various offshore industry companies.
The offshore industry is an extreme and hazardous environment for its workers. From hurricanes and freezing temperatures, to enormous equipment and dangerous chemicals, offshore workers are at the highest risk of injury or death than any other, profession. In fact, the United State’s offshore oil and gas industry has the highest fatality rate, 7x’s higher, than any other trade.
As the official most dangerous industry in the country, offshore accidents are inevitable. Human error, equipment failure, and bad weather, are the cause of most accidents.
Offshore rig workers eat, sleep, work, and live in danger. Because they are so far away from cities and hospitals, professional medical treatment is unavailable. Coast Guard response, helicopter evacuation, and trained first responders are best case scenario, when a worker my need immediate help.
With the high risk of accidents, injuries are all too common.
Call our Lake Charles, Louisiana office today for a FREE review of your personal injury case. We typically work on a contingent agreement basis, which means our fees are contingent upon the outcome of your case.
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There are specific laws that govern injuries that happen in the offshore industry. Maritime law, or admiralty law, are regulations that cover the industrys’ activities in the open sea. There are 2 categories; Maintenance and Cure, and The Jones Act. They both focus on providing lost wages, medical care, and living expenses to injured offshore workers.
Maintenance and cure are benefits that an injured seaman receives from an employer during their recovery. It is general maritime law where no matter who was at fault, if you are hurt while working at sea, you are eligible for benefits.
Maintenance and cure cover expenses like rent, food, and medical bills. You can receive this pay until you reach what is called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). The term MMI means full medical recovery with the approval of a physician to return to work.
Maintenance and cure also applies to sickness. If you become ill with a disabling illness or medical condition, even if it is not work related, you are eligible to receive maintenance and cure until you reach MMI.
The Jones Act, or the Merchant Marine Act, is federal legislation that protects United States workers hurt at sea. It gives offshore workers, or their surviving spouse and dependents, the right to file a lawsuit against their employer if a crew member or ship owner’s negligence were the cause of their accident or death.
Damages, or compensation, under the Jones Act include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.
To qualify for eligibility under The Jones Act, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of your employer.
There is a statute of limitations of 3 years to file a claim, so with this in mind, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have an injury due to an offshore accident and are unsure whether you qualify, contact our Lake Charles team at The Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in maritime law and will evaluate your case for FREE.