Boat Accident Lawyer – Supply Vessels and Work Boat Injuries
Rough seas, high winds, bad weather and other hazards can subject workers on supply vessels and crew boats to dangerous conditions. Supply ships and vessels are designed to carry a wide variety of cargo. Casing, drill pipe, tubing and other types of cargo are transported in open deck space while large amounts of fuel, drilling fluids and cement and liquid mud are held in tanks beneath the deck. Crew boats are primarily used to transport fresh crew members to offshore drilling platforms, jack up rigs, drilling ships and other vessels and return other crews back to port or another rig or boat.
Unfortunately, crew members can be injured while operating in rough seas, while loading and unloading cargo and transferring workers in personnel baskets back and forth from supply boats to the decks of platforms and drilling rigs. Drilling companies and operators often push crew boats and supply vessels beyond what is safe in order to get the job done as quickly as possible. These actions can result in serious injuries and deaths to workers involved in these types of maritime operations. When accidents occur on work boats and supply vessels, the injured seaman is generally protected under the Jones Act and other General Maritime Laws.
Legal Protections for Maritime Workers
The Jones Act is a federal statute that protects seamen who are injured on vessels or structures that are “designed for and being used for the transportation of passengers, cargo, or equipment across navigable waters.” While persons who work on ships, supply vessels and workboats will usually be classified as seamen under the Jones Act, it is always best to discuss your situation with a maritime lawyer who can identify the laws and legal remedies applicable to your case.
When a Jones Act seaman is injured in course or scope of his or her employment, the seaman will be afforded legal protection under the Act. This means that the seaman will be able to collect maintenance and cure benefits from his or her employer. Maintenance and cure benefits are similar to state workers’ compensation benefits in that the employer is required to pay these benefits to the seaman regardless of who may be to blame for the seaman’s injury or illness. The employer must provide these benefits from the time of the accident until the employee can return to work or has reached “maximum medical cure.”
Employers often will try to force an employee to be treated by a company physician. It is important to know that as an injured seaman, you have the right to select your own medical providers. If your employer is forcing you to visit the company doctor or refusing to pay for your diagnostic tests and treatment, our law firm can help you get the medical care and services you need to recover from your injuries.
Jones Act seamen who are injured on work boats and vessels may also have additional avenues of legal recourse available to them. For instance, if the owner of the work boat that you were injured on is a different entity from your employer, you may be able to file an “unseaworthiness claim” against the owner of the boat. Additionally, if your injuries were due to a dangerous or defective product or due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a product liability suit against certain third parties, including equipment manufacturers, crane operators, oil rig or platform owners or operators, contractors, suppliers and maintenance and repair companies.
Contact a Lawyer if You Have Been Involved in a Work Boat Accident
If you have been injured on a work boat, crew boat, supply ship, or any other type of vessel, you should be represented by a lawyer who knows how to handle maritime injury claims. Federal and state laws provide important legal protections to seaman and other maritime workers, including the right to collect legal damages from negligent employers, boat owners and other third party companies. At the Willis Law Firm we offer free consultations to workers who have been injured in all types of marine accidents. Contact us today at 1-800-468-4878 to schedule a confidential meeting with our experienced legal team.