We are Texas Offshore Injury attorneys
Throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal regions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, seamen, dockworkers, and oil and gas industry employees are exposed to dangerous working conditions. Due to the dangerous nature of offshore work, many of the accidents and injuries that occur often have very serious, life-altering consequences. Many times, injuries that occur can be fatal. Maritime workers routinely suffer offshore injuries caused by these conditions on offshore platforms, spars, jack-up rigs, tankers, crew boats, lay barges, and other vessels. That’s when The Carlson Law Firm steps in. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed while working offshore, it is in your best interests to contact a knowledgeable maritime law attorney as soon as possible. An offshore injury lawyer can help.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which governs maritime commerce, the rights of crew members, and the maintenance requirements of boats and shipping operations.
As per the Jones Act, negligence claims can be brought when an injury results from the careless acts of an employer or coworker. The ship owners could also liable if an accident is caused by the unsafe condition of their vessel.
The Jones Act protects crew members of a vessel in the event they are injured. This law applies to inland river workers and offshore crew members who work on crew boats, dredges, chemical ships, diving vessels, cruise ships, tankers, jack-ups, semi-submersibles, barges, drilling rigs, tugboats and towboats, cargo ships, fishing vessels, and crew offshore supply vessels.
A maritime injury lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm can help you determine your next steps.
Common offshore injuries We Can Assist With
While trauma to the back, neck and spinal cord doesn’t usually result in death, it can lead to permanent disability. The vertebral column has several ligaments and muscles that protect the spinal cord and assist in movement. However, injury to any of these structures may cause significant and debilitating pain. There are countless hazards that put offshore work employees at-risk. Those causes include:
- Owner negligence
- Operator negligence
- Improper training
- Lack of equipment
- Faulty machinery
- Improper procedures and operations
- Little to no safety equipment
- Failure to follow safety procedures
- Lack of safety procedures
- Unsafe working conditions
- Failure to follow state and federal regulations
Negligence and improper safety protocols can lead to different types of incidents that can serious injury or fatal hurt an offshore work employee, such as:
- A slip and fall on wet stairs, decks or gangplanks
- Improper moving/lifting of heavy equipment or cargo
- Fall from significant height
- Being hit by heavy equipment
The Carlson Law Firm has an offshore back and neck injury lawyer ready to assist you on your journey to recovery. Contact our firm today to discuss the specifics of your case. Contact an offshore injury attorney today.
From chains to hatches to winches, and more, offshore workers are constantly working with and around equipment that can quickly cause very serious injuries. A very real concern for many who work offshore is limb loss or amputation. In addition to traumatic amputation, offshore workers have to worry about crushed limbs which can lead to damaged nerves that may lead to a surgical amputation.
Amputation of any kind of is devastating and life-altering. However, offshore amputation can be particularly devastating because the injury occurred while earning money to care for your family. If you or a loved one is living with maritime limb loss, a compassionate offshore amputation lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm understands what you’re going through. We can help you in your recovery process.
Whether the amputation was immediate and caused directly by the accident or the victim later required surgery to remove the limb, our leading Maritime Limb Loss Attorney Reed Morgan can help. Morgan has achieved several significant trial victories and settlements for victims of offshore amputation. Our law firm backs Morgan with more than 40 years of experience protecting the rights of injured clients. We have the resources to assist you in getting the recovery you deserve. If you have an injury from an offshore amputation, contact our firm today. We will advocate for your rights and hold the right parties for your injury.
Proper maintenance of heavy machinery and equipment on board sea vessels is a federal law requirement. In addition to regular maintenance, companies are responsible for ensuring that the machinery is checked for damaged or failing parts. Additionally, your company should make sure that you and every employee you work with is properly trained on the equipment and safety procedures. If your employer has not assured these necessary precautions and you’ve lost a limb, as a result, contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a qualified offshore amputation lawyer. Possible causes of maritime limb loss include:
- Defective equipment or machinery
- Malfunction equipment or machinery
- Improper navigation planning
- Lack of training on equipment
- Lack of procedural or safety training
- Navigation collisions
- Broken or poorly maintained equipment
Recovering from offshore limb loss is a physically painful process. Contact our firm to speak with a compassionate maritime limb loss attorney. An offshore injury lawyer can help.
Offshore workers are exposed to catastrophically unsafe conditions aboard sea vessels. Severe offshore brain damage can prevent an offshore worker from returning to work. Even without considering the natural dangers associated with these jobs—such as the unstable nature of the ocean and wet, slippery conditions onboard—human error and negligence can jeopardize an offshore worker’s health just as much, if not more. If you or a loved one is living with severe brain damage from a work-related injury, Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with an expert offshore injury attorney today.
The most common causes of offshore brain injuries include:
- Insufficient training
- Falling objects
- Faulty or defective equipment
- Being hit by cranes or other heavy equipment
- Oil or other slippery substances on the ship’s deck
- Falls overboard
- Assault by a fellow crew member
- Improper loading or unloading of cargo
- Failure to provide the crew with proper equipment
Sustaining a brain injury from offshore work can alter your life. If the vessel’s captain or the crew is negligent or injures another employee, the employee can hold the employer accountable. For example, if a crew member who fails to place a caution sign after mopping the deck and another employee slips, the employer is liable for any injuries sustained.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury from any of these instances, contact an offshore brain damage lawyer today. A maritime attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help you determine your next steps. Moreover, we can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. An offshore injury lawyer from our team can help.
A maritime burn injury can have lifelong effects. In addition to the pain of serious injuries, it can prevent you from returning from work. Maritime employees like oil rig workers, and other offshore employees, work with scalding hot liquids, oil, gas, flammable chemicals, and electrical equipment. As a result, offshore workers face the daily threat of electrical accidents, fires, and explosions. If offshore workers do not have the proper safety equipment or were not trained on the proper safety procedures, they risk a burn injury. If you or a loved one suffered a life-altering injury, contact a qualified offshore injury attorney as soon as possible.
One of the most common types of injuries aboard commercial vessels and oil platforms is a burn injury. This particular injury is extremely difficult to recover from and can leave an injured worker out of a job for a very long time. Accidents that occur on these vessels are subject to maritime law and the Jones Act, which may allow offshore workers who sustain burn injuries to recover financial compensation from his or her employer.
- Fires and explosions
- Contact with hot machinery, fluids
- Negligent maintenance of engines, compressors
- Careless storage and disposal of flammable substances
- Inadequate or defective fire suppression equipment
- Failure to enforce a smoking ban
If you or a loved one is living with burn injuries, contact our firm today. A maritime burn injury from The Carlson Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve to begin the healing process. An offshore injury lawyer can help.
Burn injuries are common in the home, but they are also one of the most common offshore injuries. It doesn’t seem like fire would be a threat when completely surrounded by water. However, a fire on a sea vessel can spread quickly. Because the ship is a confined space, it can lead to far more severe burns than on land. Maritime burn injuries can occur for a number of reasons:
- Explosion: The vessel’s fuel and even the fuel used to power on-board equipment is combustible. With improper use or defects, fuel can be the source of a serious explosion that can quickly cause a fire.
- Engine Room Fire: Malfunctioning engine equipment can ignite and create a dangerous situation.
- Equipment Malfunctions: In addition to engine and fuel, other equipment used in the course of your work on a ship can malfunction and start a fire.
- Kitchen Accident: A burn injury in a ship’s galley is just as likely as it is in your home kitchen. However, the close quarters on board may increase the risk of fire and maritime burn injury.
- Electrical: Most ships house a generator room. This room is often the hub of the electrical systems on the ship. When electrical rooms are not maintained properly, an offshore worker can be electrocuted or a fire may start leading to burns.
The physical nature of working on an offshore comes with assumed risks. Often overlooked, and more difficult to avoid, is exposure to hazardous or toxic substances. This is a risk that is not uncommon in an industry that often deals with oil and natural gases. Many workers suffer injury from inhalation and exposure to chemical fumes, vapors or even the product itself. If you or a loved one is living with offshore lung disease, contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with an expert offshore lung disease lawyer. An offshore injury lawyer can help.
Lung disease is, essentially, any problem that prevents the lungs from functioning properly. Lung disease classification breaks down as follows:
- Airway Diseases: These types of diseases affect tubes that allow for breathing. They usually cause a narrowing or blockage of the airways. Those with airway disease describe feeling like they’re trying to breath through a straw. Examples of this disease include asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis.
- Lung Tissue Diseases: Lung tissue disease affects the structure of lung tissue. Scarring and inflammation of the tissue prohibit lungs from fully expanding. As a result, deep breathing is not likely for those living with a lung tissue disease. Those with lung tissue diseases describe feeling like wearing a too tight sweater or vest. Examples of this type of lung disease include pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis.
- Lung Circulation Diseases: These diseases affect the blood vessels in the lungs. Often, clotting, scarring or inflammation in the blood vessels indicate this condition. These diseases affect the ability of the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and often affect heart function. One example of lung circulation disease is pulmonary hypertension.
- Silicosis: Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock and mineral ores. In addition to toxic chemicals, offshore workers are at risk of developing this form of lung disease. Maritime workers who use sandblasters or clean rust are exposed to crystalline silica dust.Silicosis classifies as a carcinogen and can lead to:
- Lung cancer
- Bronchitis / Chronix Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder
- Increased risk for renal disease
- Asbestosis: Asbestosis is another chronic lung disease resulting from the inhalation of asbestos particles. Severe fibrosis and a high risk for mesothelioma are markers of the condition. Prolonged exposure to fibers that causes lung tissue scarring and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and don’t usually appear until several years after continued exposure.Most instances of asbestosis happened on the job before the federal government began regulating the use of asbestos and asbestos-related products in the 1970s.The effects of long-term exposure to asbestos typically don’t show up for 10 to 40 years after initial exposure. Signs of asbestosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent, dry coughing
- Loss of appetite with weight loss
- Fingertips and toes that appear wider and rounder than normal (clubbing)
- Chest tightness
- Pain in the chest
After an asbestosis diagnosis, your chances of developing lung cancer increase. If you have a history of exposure to asbestos and you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of asbestosis. Your medical bills may be costly, however, you should not have to pay them alone. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with an offshore cancer lawyer about your situation. An offshore injury lawyer can help.
Offshore workers risk exposure to a number of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials. Workers are at risk of inhaling these dangerous substances and developing serious lung diseases. If you are living with lung disease or know someone who is, contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your case. An offshore lung disease lawyer can guide you through the legal process.
Maritime toxic chemical exposure can lead to several illnesses for offshore workers. Workers must remain mindful of the hazardous chemicals the large tankers and barges they work are carrying. These chemicals can include benzene, toluene, naphtha, gasoline, xylene, jet fuel and other refined petrochemicals. Many workers suffer injury from inhalation and exposure to chemical fumes, vapors or even the product itself. If you or a loved one is living or passed away from work-related cancer, contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with an expert offshore cancer lawyer.
Toxic chemicals can come as a solid, liquid or gas. The most common way maritime workers risk exposure to toxic chemicals is through inhalation. Some chemicals, such as benzene, dissolves easily and inhalation may happen without knowledge. Offshore workers also risk exposure to toxic chemicals through the skin, eyes, and mouth. While maritime toxic chemical exposure ingestion rarely occurs, the damage to internal organs can be extensive. Workers risk damage to the throat, mouth, and stomach.
Illness and disease caused by these various chemicals include:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML Leukemia)
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome or Myelodysplasia (MDS)
- Aplastic Anemia (AA)
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Blood Cancers / Bone Marrow Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
Benzene is a known carcinogen, which means it can cause specific types of cancer. Workers exposed to significant quantities of benzene are at risk for certain illnesses and may be eligible for compensation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. In addition, exposure to benzene can occur on many levels. Unfortunately, far too many employers do not follow the proper safety procedures to protect their employees from benzene and other harmful substances. If you or a loved one is suffering from illness after benzene exposure, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have an expert benzene lawyer who is ready to evaluate your case.
Our firm has more than 40 years of experience representing victims of toxic chemical exposure. Companies have a responsibility to ensure that employees are protected from toxic chemical exposure at all times. If that does not occur then it is in your best interest to retain a qualified attorney to look into your case and represent you. An experienced benzene lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm will handle your case with compassion and care as we pursue a fair recovery for you. Contact us for a free consultation. Above all, we will advocate for your rights and hold the right parties accountable for your illnesses.
WHAT IS BENZENE?
Benzene is a colorless sweet-smelling liquid used to cut grease and dissolve rust. It is a highly flammable liquid commonly used in maintenance and repair work in the home, as well as commercial and industrial environments. Benzene evaporates quickly when exposed to air—making it easy to inhale. Although benzene occurs naturally in volcanoes and forest fires, most human exposure comes from human activities through working with the chemical. Work involving plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides puts employees at risk of inhaling the chemical. Benzene is among the most commonly used chemicals in the United States. In fact, the chemical is so common that it ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume.
What Products Contain Benzene?
In addition to workplace exposure, benzene is contained in several household products. Those products include the following:
- Motor fuels
- Nylon and synthetic fibers
Benzene also occurs naturally in crude oil, gasoline, and vehicle exhaust. Because of this, workers in the oil industry at increased risks of inhaling the substance. If you worked in the oil or refinery industry and have now developed a benzene-related illness, contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a qualified benzene lawyer today.
HOW DOES BENZENE AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Industrial processes are the main source of benzene in the environment. The toxic substance can pass into the air from water and soil. In addition, benzene can attach to rain or snow which then carries the toxic substance back to the ground, creating a cycle. Although the chemical is easily broken down in the air by other chemicals, it is a much slower process in soil. The substance can then pass from the soil into underground water resources.
WHAT EFFECT DOES BENZENE HAVE ON THE BODY?
Benzene causes cells in the body not to work properly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells. In some cases, this can lead to anemia. Additionally, it changes the way the body’s immune system produces blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route and length of time of exposure. Further, the age and any pre-existing medical conditions should be taken into account.
Additionally, exposure disrupts cell function in a number of ways. Even short-term exposure can cause serious side effects. For example, it can cause bone marrow to produce fewer red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also change the levels of antibodies in your blood, reducing the overall number of white blood cells. These effects damage the immune system and increase your chance of getting an infection. Benzene may reduce the platelet count in your blood, which leads to excessive bleeding.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms of Benzene Exposure
Breathing in high levels of benzene may lead to the following signs and symptoms within several minutes to several hours:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Eating foods or drinking beverages containing high levels of benzene can cause the following symptoms within minutes to several hours:
- Irritation of the stomach
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
If a person vomits because of swallowing foods or beverages containing benzene, the vomit could be sucked into the lungs and cause breathing problems and coughing. In addition, when the eyes are exposed to benzene can lead to tissue injury and irritation. Benzene exposure is a very serious matter. If you or a loved one is living with an illness from benzene exposure in the workplace contact a benzene lawyer immediately. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
LONG-TERM HEALTH EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO BENZENE
Benzene exposure over long periods of time (a year or more) has major effects on the blood. Long-term exposure to this toxic chemical can cause very serious illnesses, and may eventually lead to death. Illnesses linked to long-term benzene exposure include the following:
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML, almost exclusively caused by benzene exposure)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Myelodyplasia
- Non Hodgkin Lymphoma
If you or a loved one is suffering from benzene caused illness from long-term exposure, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a qualified benzene lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal system. You do not have to face the mounting medical bills and other damages alone. Our firm can help you get the recovery you deserve.
HOW BENZENE EXPOSURE CAN LEAD TO CANCER
Although benzene is known to cause multiple adverse health effects, benzene exposure is most associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This is because rates of leukemia, particularly AML, are found in higher levels in workers exposed to high levels of benzene. For example, those who work in a shoe or chemical factories, as well as oil refineries are at increased risks of developing leukemia.
As we have established, benzene primarily affects the blood in those with long-term exposure. Leukemia is a malignant progressive disease in which the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. Further, the suppression of creating new, normal blood cells leads to anemia and other symptoms.
Because of its link to leukemia, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designated benzene as a carcinogen. This is based on sufficient evidence linking the chemical with multiple types of leukemia. In addition, several U.S. agencies have linked benzene exposure to leukemia and classified the substance as a carcinogen.
WHERE DOES BENZENE EXPOSURE OCCUR?
Benzene is a naturally occurring chemical that can be found outdoors in low levels from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions. On the other hand, indoor air generally contains high levels of benzene that outdoor air from the vapors and gases of indoor products. Benzene exposure indoors comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents.
Workers in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to this chemical. These include the following:
- Rubber industry
- Oil refineries
- Chemical Plants
- Shoe Manufacturers
- Gasoline-related industries
- Martime employees
Other people who risk workplace exposure to benzene include steel workers, printers, lab technicians, gas station employees, and firefighters. Federal regulations limit exposure to benzene in the workplace.
Can Benzene Affect Children?
Yes. Benzene exposure affects children in the same way as adults. However, the research is unclear if children are more susceptible to benzene poisoning than adults. In addition, children are also at risk of been exposure while in utero. The chemical can pass from the mother’s blood to the fetus. Animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed in benzene. If your child is suffering from benzene exposure, contact a qualified benzene lawyer ASAP.
HOW CAN I REDUCE BENZENE EXPOSURE?
Reducing benzene exposure and in the home is necessary for those hoping to live healthy lives. There are several ways you can limit your exposure in the workplace and in the home.
Limiting Benzene Exposure in the Workplace
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limits the amount of airborne benzene exposure for employees 1 part per million (1 ppm) for an 8-hour workday. On the other hand, the maximum exposure for short-term limits 5 ppm for any 15-minute period.
OSHA also requires employees to weird protective clothing and equipment when handling the substance. Respirators are required for those workplaces where “engineering controls are not feasible to reduce exposure to the permissible level.” Respiratory equipment requires the approval of both the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH). Further, depending on which comes first, cartridges and canisters must be replaced after every shift change or at the end of their lifespan.
Coupled with proper protection, your employer must also properly train you on the proper use of your assigned respirator.
In addition to the proper safety equipment and training, your employer must provide you with the proper protective clothing. For example, boots, gloves, sleeves and aprons are necessary to limit your skin’s exposure to the chemical. Similarly, your employer should you provide with protective, splash proof eyewear or safety goggles.
OSHA’s Chemical Exposure Effectiveness Measures
Because employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe from toxic chemicals, OSHA created the chemical exposure effectiveness measures chart. The chart details the effectiveness of exposure prevention from least to most effective.
Elimination or Substitution
First, as demonstrated by the graph, elimination and substitution is the ideal prevention method. An example of eliminating or substituting is transitioning to a safer chemical for employees to handle.
The second tier in the order of preventing exposure to toxic chemicals. This involves implementing a physical change in the workplace which eliminates or reduces the hazards during an employer’s task. As a result, employers can change the process to minimize contact with toxic chemicals, isolate or enclose the process, use film hoods and other strategies.
Administrative and Work Practice Controls
Moving down the list, when a company implements administrative and work practice controls establish an efficient process or procedure. For example, this can include rotating job assignments or adjusting employee schedules to avoid overexposure to toxic chemicals.
Personal Protective Equipment
And finally, protective clothing and equipment is the most basic preventive measure. This safety measure requires employees handling toxic materials to wear something to limit exposure. Examples include eyewear, gloves, respiratory protection or chemical protective clothing.
If your employer failed to implement safety measures to protect you from maritime toxic chemical exposure, contact The Carlson Law Firm ASAP.
Limiting Benzene Exposure in the Home
In reality, environmental exposures outside of the workplace are much lower. However, if you are concerned about benzene exposure in the home then there are few steps you can take to avoid exposure. For starters, stay away from cigarette smoke, as cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure. Consequently, smokers are exposed to nearly 10 times the level of benzene as nonsmokers. And, finally, always use common sense around any chemicals that might contain benzene, such as only using solvents, paints and art supplies in well-ventilated spaces.
If benzene exposure occurred in your workplace, you may have a case against your employer. Contact a benzene lawyer today to discuss your case. It is important that you act immediately, as the clock on the statute of limitation begins the moment your diagnosis.
Kirby Corporation is a Texas-based maritime company. It is the largest tank barge operator in the United States. The company is responsible for transporting bulk liquid products throughout U.S. coasts, Alaska and Hawaii and the Mississippi River System. Further, the company’s service area spans America’s inland waterway network. The company transports the following items:
- Black oil
- refined petroleum products
- agricultural chemical products
In addition, the company operates eight ships that transport dry-bulk commodities in the U.S. coast trade. The company also operates several subsidiary businesses.
Employee exposure to chemicals
According to its website, Kirby Corp has approximately 5,650 employees. In addition, the company operates 1,003 active inland tank barges and 285 active towing vessels. On its barges, the company tows the following petrochemicals:
Kirby Corp has a history of failing to provide adequate protective equipment for its employees. Because benzene is toxic even at very low concentrations, employees should be protected at all costs. Since the late 1990s, the company has faced various Hodgkin’s lymphoma lawsuits.
Anyone who works on a ship is at risk for benzene exposure. But there are some positions on barges that at a higher risk for exposure and developing cancer. For example, those who are responsible for the following duties are the most risk:
- Repairing leaks
- Oil spills
- Pumping unit repairs
- Priming pumps
- Gauging oil tanks
Kirby Corp Cancer Lawsuits
Past lawsuits against the company report acute exposure to benzene, as well as smelling various chemicals and vapors on the barges while doing their jobs.
As the largest barge company in the country, Kirby Corp has the money and has faced enough cancer lawsuits to know the weaknesses in your case. They will use this experience against you. The company will point out everything from your smoking history to any failures to report acute exposure, as well as your history with your protective equipment and benzene physicals. Because of this, it’s important that you seek qualified and experienced representation if you were diagnosed with cancer after benzene exposure.
There's a Carlson Law Firm near you
With 12 locations throughout Texas, there’s a Carlson Law Firm near you. We have law offices located in Killeen, Temple, Waco, Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Bryan, Lubbock, and Corpus Christi.