An offshore injury can have devastating consequences. While working to provide for your family, you may have suffered an accident that affected your health and income. Now you’re wondering what to do in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
During this stressful time, it’s important to have a trusted advocate on your side. Negotiating with your employer’s insurance on your own could lead to unfair injury payment.
Insurance companies often try to take advantage of injured workers, paying as little money as possible. If you hire an experienced offshore injury lawyer to take over insurance company negotiations, you can protect yourself against this unfair treatment.
At Grossman Law Offices, we have been helping accident victims for decades. Thousands of satisfied clients have relied us on to fight for them after an accident.
We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and trial awards for accident victims, and we are ready to fight for your maximum injury compensation.
Here, we provide an overview of offshore injury law. If you need more information after reading this guide, our offshore injury attorneys can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation.
Offshore Laws for Your Claim
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, different maritime laws apply. Maritime law is complex and differs significantly from land-based employment law. So it’s important to hire an attorney experienced in litigating offshore injury cases.
These offshore laws may apply to your claim.
Maritime Common Law
Maritime common law offers offshore workers basic protection from job-related injuries. Under maritime common law, injured workers are entitled to maintenance and cure. This means that workers receive medical care and a reduced wage while they recover from their injuries.
Claims under maritime common law are not fault-based, so you can usually recover even if you were responsible for your injuries. However, maintenance and cure payments often aren’t adequate to pay your bills, and they discontinue after a limited time.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal law that gives injured offshore workers the ability to sue their employers. Land-based employees do not usually have such a right when their employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance. In this regard, maritime law can provide more generous remedies to injured employees.
To receive compensation under the Jones Act, you must meet the definition of a “seaman,” which requires that you:
- Spend 30% or more of work hours in the service of a vessel on navigable waters, and
- Substantially contribute to the mission of a vessel.
Most offshore employees qualify as seamen, though part-time employees or visitors on a vessel may not meet Jones Act requirements.
Jones Act negligence
Unlike maintenance and cure, Jones Act compensation requires you to prove that your employer was at least partially at fault for your injuries. Proving that your employer was negligent requires these elements:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care to provide a safe work environment,
- Your employer breached that duty by allowing an unsafe condition,
- This breach of duty contributed to your injury, and
- You incurred damages as a result of your injury.
An offshore injury attorney can evaluate the circumstance of your accident and gather evidence to determine whether your employer was at fault. This legal option can provide considerable compensation to injured workers.
An injured maritime worker who files a Jones Act lawsuit can potentially recover much more compensation than is available to a land-based employee.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Dock and harbor workers may be able to sue under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This law covers maritime workers like dock and harbor workers and shipbuilders injured in areas such as docks, wharves, and shipyards.
Maritime workers who are covered by the Jones Act or workers’ compensation insurance cannot file a claim under the Longshore Act.
Workers who are eligible to file a claim under the Longshore Act have no-fault coverage. This means that workers can claim compensation for dock and harbor accidents even if they were responsible for the accident.
Longshore Act compensation includes medical care and rehabilitation as well as a reduced weekly wage. Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a dock or harbor accident may also recover compensation under the Longshore Act.
How to Find an Experienced Maritime Lawyer
If you’ve suffered an offshore injury, you need an experienced maritime attorney to fight for your maximum compensation. While many personal injury lawyers may say they can help with your claim, you need someone who understands the complex laws that govern offshore injuries.
Only an offshore accident lawyer has the experience necessary to represent your interests skillfully.
Review Offshore Injury Attorney Recommendations and Reviews
Find a lawyer with a successful record of representing offshore clients by asking friends for recommendations or researching attorneys online. Online review sites like Google and Avvo should provide feedback from former clients.
Some offshore injury lawyers give client testimonials and case results on their websites. For instance, you can review Grossman Law Offices’ case results here.
Evaluate an Offshore Injury Lawyer’s Style of Practice
Besides a winning record, you also want an offshore accident attorney who will treat you with respect. That respect starts by offering a free consultation to give you a chance to learn about the law firm before you sign a contract.
Your attorney should communicate with you regularly and keep you updated on the progress of your claim. Make sure your attorney has the skills needed to take your case to trial if your employer refuses to offer a fair settlement. Most reputable maritime lawyers work on contingency, meaning you shouldn’t have to pay any legal fees until they settle your claim.
Contact an Offshore Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
To get started on your offshore injury claim, contact Grossman Law Offices for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your experience, answer any questions, and evaluate your legal options.
Our passionate attorneys want every offshore injury victim to have the best legal representation available. If you decide to hire us, we’ll use our firm’s substantial resources and offshore legal experience to fight for your maximum compensation.