Accidents on vessels in the open sea that involve serious or fatal injuries and/or property damage are commonly referred to as offshore accidents. The causes of these accidents are without measure—it could be that someone fell on a slippery deck, a piece of equipment failed, or even a fire caused a large explosion. One thing, however, remains constant in almost all of these cases: negligence is almost always the largest contributing factor.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, there were over 42 major injures that occurred in the 2010/2011 year; this resulted in over 150 workers suffering a serious injury out of over 100,000. Beyond this, there were over 100 "over-three-day" injuries; this calculated out to every 400 workers out of every 100,000. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious injury in a tragic offshore accident, then you deserve to have your legal rights protected by a maritime accident attorney who knows the best way in which to protect your legal rights.
Maritime accidents are often more devastating than accidents in other occupations. This is due to a few factors: for one, many maritime accidents occur a long distance from the nearest aid. The lag time between the injury and help arriving creates far worse consequences. Another reason is that maritime workers often deal with dangerous machinery in difficult weather, increasing the chances of a truly horrible accident.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we have proven to be steadfast advocates for the rights of maritime injury victims. We know how complex these cases can be, but we have the skill you need to properly move through the case as efficiently as possible. We have proven to move cases faster than the average firm; not only this, but our geographical location in Texas gives us preferential trial settings. We know how to take on big companies and we won't back down.
Types of offshore accident cases we can help with include, but are not limited to, the following:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has declared commercial fishing for years to be the most dangerous job in the United States. In a 10-year period, 545 fisherman were killed while at sea. Over half of the casualties were the result of a “vessel disaster,” such as crashing, sinking, a fire, or some kind of mechanical failure. A third were from falling overboard, which can be caused by a combination of poor weather and dangerous deck conditions. The causes of a commercial fishing accident include overworking, slippery surfaces, dangerous weather, poorly-maintained vessels, and more.
If a crane accident occurred—regardless of whether the accident occurred because of a lack of maintenance, training, or supervision—you do not deserve to suffer in silence. By hiring an experienced maritime attorney, you can fight for the compensation you deserve to cover all damages that you have suffered, such as medical fees.
Cruise Ship Accidents
Cruise ship injury claims can be made on behalf of a passenger who was victimized by sexual assault, on an injury during a shore excursion or even during an accident involving the ship itself. They can also be made on behalf of seamen.
Although employers are supposed to draw a strict line in regards to drug and / or alcohol testing, this does not always occur. Should these not be strictly adhered to, it can jeopardize the safety and health of other workers.
Ferry Worker Accidents
Ferries are one of the most convenient forms of modern transportation. Unfortunately, should there be crew negligence, an unsafe docking procedure, or a failure to follow safety regulations, the accidents can be life-threatening.
Jack-Up Rig Accidents
Fires, explosions, loose cables, and malfunctioning equipment can all be the cause of serious offshore accidents while aboard jack-up rigs. Seamen who are aboard these vessels are commonly covered by the Jones Act.
Marine Cargo Handling
In the first month of 2015, five cargo ships experienced terrible accidents, many of which were due to improperly secured cargo. Improper weight distribution and handling often leads to capsizing or sinking, like in the case of the Cemfjord. This vessel was transporting cement, but capsized due to a combination of poor weather and unsafe weight distribution. Eight crew members were presumed dead after an extensive search found no trace of the crew. For employees who work onshore with marine cargo, injuries may still be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Oil Platform Accidents
Oil platform accidents are some of the single most deadly incidents at sea. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which claimed 11 lives and injured 16, comes to mind as the most famous of these incidents. However, even more devastating and recent explosions have occurred. Pemex, a Mexican drilling company, lost 37 employees in an explosion in 2013.Explosions can be caused by a number of things—most cite the handling of dangerous and flammable chemicals as the cause for many explosions. However, drilling equipment is designed to handle these chemicals. The more crucial cause is faulty or unexamined equipment which operates far below standard quality.
In many cases, offshore accidents involve a crane or derrick. Many times, those injured in these types of accidents can find themselves protected under maritime law, such as the Jones Act. If you would like to discuss your case, call today.
Working in a shipyard makes employees vulnerable to a unique set of dangers - these can result in musculoskeletal injuries, nerve damage, and even severe burns. These victims deserve relief.
Surrounded by heavy equipment, working on a spud barge makes workers exceptionally vulnerable to serious injuries. From being hit by the spud to having a hand crushed while removing a spud pin, these dangers can be life-threatening.
After an accident, you may be left wondering what steps to take. You may struggle with financial and medical issues, trying to decide how to proceed. It is important to know that certain rights are protected by maritime law. Taking advantage of these may be a valuable asset to those injured at sea.
Regardless of who was at fault in your accident, as an offshore worker, you have a seaman's rights. You may be entitled to maintenance and cure benefits and payment of your wages for the duration of the voyage. The principles of maintenance and cure may entitle you to fully-paid medical care and hospitalization, including diagnostic tests and therapy, as well as room and board, food, and transportation until you are fit for duty again or reach full medical recovery. You also have the right to choose your own doctor and get a second medical opinion.
Certain maritime employers may push injured workers into seeing a certain physician after an injury, but you have the right to choose your own doctor. Selecting a doctor carries several advantages, as a doctor endorsed by the company is more likely to be interested in the company's best interest than yours, and you may find yourself lacking adequate recovery time or treatment to save funds. This makes selecting your own unbiased doctor an important step in ensuring that you fully recover from an incident and your medical needs are truly covered. The Jones Act states that all injured mariners are entitled to full medical benefits until recovery is complete, regardless of who is at fault in the incident. Do not let your employer bully you into returning to work before you have fully recovered.
When a claim is filed, your employer may request a statement regarding the incident. While you are obligated to initially report your injury to your employer, you have the right to deny giving a recorded statement. Relaying the details of a real event may sound like an obvious step to take, but even the smallest detail can be used against your case if things are phrased in a certain way or you may not be certain which details to give. It is important to consult a lawyer before giving any statement on an injury at sea, so ensure that you are giving a clear and accurate account.
In addition, injured workers have the right to refuse signing any paperwork proposed to them by insurance companies to provide them with a settlement or medical benefits. While recovering from an injury, workers may be visited by an insurance adjuster who offers up medical coverage and maintenance payments in exchange for signing one quick paper. You can, and probably should, refuse to sign any of these papers. They may contain a number of additional clauses, including forcing you into arbitration in the event of a dispute.
Although the details surrounding an injury at sea can be overwhelming, it is important to protect yourself by knowing your legal rights to medical treatment and other decisions. If you have any questions concerning your accident at sea, the attorneys of Arnold & Itkin can review your situation and help you understand what options are available to you. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation by calling us today at (888) 346-5024.
You will find a great deal of helpful information on this website that pertains to offshore accidents, injuries, and related topics. We offer the following information and so much more:
We are experienced trial lawyers and aggressive advocates for our clients. We quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of each individual case and map out a strategy for winning. We measure success in the results we deliver. We have secured billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts and are ready to help you.
No matter the type of maritime accident has occurred, it is in your best interest to contact Arnold & Itkin !
Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.