Maritime Law, Offshore Injury

Offshore Injury/Maritime Law

Injured While Working Offshore? 

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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.

Contact the maritime injury attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm today to schedule your free, no obligation, case evaluation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone. 

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.

Common Offshore Injuries

Maritime work is some of the most important work for the American economy. However, while lucrative, the work is often dangerous. Offshore back and neck injury are among the most common work-related injuries. They are often the result of the physically demanding and straining work of maritime workers. These types of injuries can lead to offshore workers missing out on work, in addition to mounting medical bills. While offshore workers aren’t covered by workers’ compensation, the Jones Act entitles them to some level of financial relief. If you’ve been injured on the job, call The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation with an offshore injury lawyer. An offshore injury lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm can be your guide through recovery.

Back and Neck Injuries

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
  • Understaffing
  • 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.

Amputations

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.

Brain Damage – Traumatic Brain Injuries

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.

Burns

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
  • Steam
  • 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
  • Electrocution

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.
  • A 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.

Lung Disease

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
  • Tuberculosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Incresases 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.

Cancer

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:

Compensation Available to Injured Seaman

Injured maritime employees are entitled to a variety of benefits under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law. First, they are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, both those already paid and any future costs of recovery. Medical expenses may include the costs of future surgery, ongoing rehabilitation, and transportation costs.

Those who cannot return to work are entitled to past and future lost wages as well as costs for vocational retraining. Because serious injuries severely limit the types of jobs available to the victim, the Jones Act also allows damages for lost earning capacity.

Additionally, injured workers are entitled to payments when they are temporarily or permanently disabled. In cases where the injury is caused by negligence, the victim is entitled to damages for pain and suffering. Because recovering under the Jones Act is complex, it is important to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney. An offshore injury lawyer can help.

Maintenance And Cure

Maintenance and Cure is a seamen’s right to medical treatment and living allowance following an accident aboard a ship, or another offshore vessel.

Maintenance is a daily living allowance paid to a seaman while he is recovering from his injury or illness. Maintenance payments continue until a seaman has reached maximum medical improvement or until he is fit to return to duty at his previous level. There is no set daily rate for maintenance, and the rate of maintenance may vary from case to case. Typically maintenance rates are set by employers very low in the range of $30 to $35 a day. A maintenance rate in a seaman’s employment contract is non-binding with the exception of some collective bargaining agreements.

Cure is a shorthand term used for medical expenses associated with a seaman’s injury or illness. In almost all cases, a seaman’s employer must pay all reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with a seaman’s injury or illness. These expenses may include doctor and hospital bills, therapy expenses, nursing bills, MRI and CT scans, wheelchairs, diagnostic testing, pain clinics, transportation costs to and from the doctor, and other reasonable medical-related expenses. An injured seaman has the right to choose his own doctor. The right to cure continues until the seaman has reached maximum medical improvement. Many employers and marine insurance adjusters attempt to wrongfully terminate a seaman’s benefits before they have reached maximum medical improvement. Where there are conflicting medical opinions about whether or not further medical treatment may improve a seaman’s medical condition, maritime law requires those doubts to be resolved in favor of granting further treatment.

If you believe you are entitled to maintenance and cure and your employer denies your claim, the first thing you should do is speak to an experienced maritime attorney about your situation. An offshore injury lawyer from our team can help.

The Carlson Difference: A National Firm That Gets Results

If you are a seaman, the Jones Act, and the general maritime law cover you, and if injured on the job, or made ill on the job, you are owed maintenance and cure benefits. We can help you to receive what you deserve after your maritime injury.

Most personal injury firms are made up of individual lawyers. They may get help from others, such as field experts or investigators, but it’s not often that they keep those resources in house. The Carlson Law Firm maintains a team of Maritime Attorneys that includes more than 30 experienced lawyers, as well as full-time registered nurses and three investigators.

Along with our in-house staff, we have strong relationships with other experts, as well as photographers and videographers who help document the evidence you need. Establishing negligence is key to the success of any case, and we have more than enough skill and resources to do just that. Our firm has over 40 years of experience and runs like a machine – efficiently and effectively.

Contact An Offshore Injury Lawyer For A Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of their work offshore, you may be entitled to the compensation you so rightly deserve. We are uniquely qualified to represent offshore workers or their families in serious injury or wrongful death claims resulting from accidents occurring at sea, in coastal areas, or on inland waters.

Contact the Carlson Law Firm today for a free, no obligation, consultation. If you are looking for prompt, personal and proven representation for your offshore injury, Jones Act claim or any other Maritime Injury claims, The Carlson Law Firm is here to help. Our team of attorneys, specialists, and research associates have the experience and resources to guide you through your legal journey and help you secure the best results possible.


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