Injured offshore? If you got hurt working on a stationary drilling platform, jackup rig, barge, or offshore vessel, the law entitles you to recover just compensation. We can help you protect your rights, protect your job, avoid costly mistakes and win the compensation you deserve.
Suffering an on-the-job injury can be devastating, but it should not cost you your financial security. Maritime and offshore workers face some of the most-dangerous working conditions of any occupation, and federal law provides special protections designed to ensure that seamen and other offshore workers have the opportunity to recover financially when they get hurt on the job.
If you were injured working offshore, an offshore injury lawyer at the Willis Law Firm can help. We have decades of experience representing offshore workers in claims for financial compensation. Whether you have a claim for Jones Act negligence or you were injured on an unseaworthy vessel, we can use our experience to make sure your financial future is secure.
Is Your Injury Covered?
“Is my injury covered?” When we meet with offshore workers who have been injured on the job, this is usually one of the first questions they want answered. Fortunately, the answer is pretty simple: If you were injured while working offshore – whether on a platform, rig, cargo ship, crew boat or other vessel – in most cases you will be entitled to at least some form of financial compensation. In fact, in many cases, offshore workers will have multiple ways that they can seek to recover compensation for their financial and non-financial losses.
Regardless of what happened, if you were injured offshore, you should speak with an attorney about your rights. We routinely represent individuals who have suffered injuries and losses due to causes including:
- Dangerous and inadequately-maintained equipment, machinery, tools and vessels
- Dangerous staircases and walkways
- Exposure to harmful chemicals or fumes
- Falling objects
- Lack of adequate safety equipment
- Lack of adequate safety protocols
- Lack of a trained or qualified crew
- Lack of sufficient number of crew to safely do the job
- Negligent equipment operation
- Shifting cargo and equipment
- Slips and falls on slippery decks and steps
- Trip hazards on deck
The list goes on and on. For purposes of seeking financial compensation, federal law does not distinguish between the different causes and types of offshore injuries. If you were injured, you have rights, and our skilled attorneys can fight to maximize your financial recovery.
Who is Liable for Your Injuries?
While many offshore workers (those who qualify as “seamen” under the Jones Act) can seek maintenance and cure benefits from their employers, (i) these benefits are extremely limited, and (ii) they are not the only form of compensation available. Depending on what happened, we may be able to help you secure full compensation from:
Maintenance and cure benefits are not the only form of compensation available from your employer. If your employer (or a co-worker) made any mistake that in any way caused or contributed to your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for Jones Act negligence.
The Owner of Your Vessel or Platform
Our offshore injury lawyers have helped numerous clients secure compensation by proving that their injuries were the result of dangerous conditions onboard a vessel. Under the law of unseaworthiness, vessel owners owe a legal duty to ensure that workers are not put at unnecessary and avoidable risk for injury.
A Third-Party Contractor
Oftentimes, several companies will have employees working side-by-side on a rig, platform or vessel on the open water. If another company’s failure to observe the necessary safety precautions led to your injuries, or if a third-party contractor’s employee made a mistake that caused you harm, let an offshore injury lawyer help you seek full and fair compensation.
A Product or Equipment Manufacturer
The risks of dangerous and defective products are magnified offshore. If a defective tool, piece of hardware, component, or piece of equipment or machinery failed and caused your injury, we can seek to hold the manufacturer fully responsible.
The Risks of Offshore Injuries
In addition to their immediate effects, injuries sustained offshore will often have lasting consequences. When protecting your rights, it is critical to have a clear picture of all of the ways that your injuries will continue to impact your life:
While some broken bones can fully heal with treatment, rest and rehabilitation, many fractures will result in permanent disfigurement, persistent pain and lifelong physical limitations. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical, and obtaining the necessary medical care when you are injured offshore can often be a challenge.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious injuries sustained in offshore accidents. They are also among the most dangerous. From concussions to penetrating brain injuries, any accident that results in a head impact or violent shaking of the head should be treated as a potential medical emergency.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries – including sprains, strains and tears – will often be more severe than initially perceived. Serious soft tissue injuries can require surgery, and they will often be accompanied by herniated discs, bone fractures and other injuries as well. Pain, limited mobility and loss of muscle strength are all common long-term consequences of serious soft tissue injuries.
Spinal Cord and Neck Injuries
Spinal cord and disc injuries will often have lifelong effects. Even when they do not result in paralysis (paraplegia or quadriplegia), back and neck injuries that require surgery can prevent victims from returning to work, engaging in jobs that require lifting, climbing, bending or stooping.
Checklist: 10 Ways to Protect Your Rights After an Offshore Injury
If you were injured offshore, you can use this checklist to help make sure you avoid costly mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery:
1. Did you report the accident immediately?
After suffering injuries in an offshore accident, it is important to report the accident as soon as possible. Tell your immediate supervisor that you were hurt, and make sure you know to file a report with your employer including the names and contact information of all witnesses and others involved. It is also equally important to obtain a copy of said accident report for your own records. If you fail to report the accident promptly, your employer (or another liable party) may try to use this against you.
2. Did you request to see your own doctor?
Even if your employer has a physician on staff, you are entitled to see your own doctor after an offshore accident. You should request to see your own doctor on land, and you should not let your employer force you into seeking treatment from the company’s physician. There are several risks to seeing a company doctor after an offshore accident, including the risk that you will not receive full treatment for your injuries.
3. Did you take photos (or ask a co-worker to take photos)?
Provided that you are not too injured to do so, it is important to try to document the accident as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to take photos of the location where you were injured. Taking photos will help ensure that repairs or cleanup performed after your accident will not prevent you from proving your claim for just compensation.
4. Did you write down everything you can remember?
What time did the accident occur? What were the weather conditions? Who saw what happened? What were you doing when you got hurt? As soon as possible, you should write down as many details you can remember about the accident.
5. Did you keep your damaged clothing and personal items?
Your damaged clothing and personal items may prove to be important evidence in your claim for compensation. Stains on your clothing, scratches on your hardhat and other damage could all be essential to painting a clear picture of both the cause and extent of your injuries.
6. Have you been following your doctor’s advice?
Following your doctor’s advice will not only help you recover as quickly as possible, but it will also help protect your claim for financial compensation. If you ignore your doctor’s advice and exacerbate your injuries or delay your recovery, you can be almost certain that this will be used against you.
7. Have you been keeping your records and receipts?
If you have a third-party claim or a claim for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness, you are entitled to compensation for all of your injury-related losses. Keeping copies of your medical records and receipts will help ensure that you do not overlook any expenses that are eligible for reimbursement.
8. Have you been keeping quiet about the accident?
Once you report the accident to your employer, you should not discuss what happened with anyone except your attorney. This is especially important at work (if you are able to return to work without risking your health and safety), but applies equally in your personal life, Facebook and online as well.
9. Have you documented the ways your injuries impact your life?
In addition to keeping your records and receipts, you should also try to document the non-financial consequences of the accident. How often are you in pain? How severe is the pain? What medications you have been taking and the names and addresses of all medical Doctors and clinics you have been treated. These are all details your lawyer will need to know.
10. Did you seek free legal advice?
The only way to protect your rights after an offshore accident is to seek experienced legal representation. You should talk to an offshore injury lawyer as soon as possible and choose an attorney who you believe has the experience and qualifications necessary to maximize your financial recovery.
Why Choose the Willis Law Firm?
Why should you choose us for your offshore injury claim? Here are five reasons why offshore workers put their trust in the Willis Law Firm:
- Over 30 Years’ Experience – Founding attorney David P. Willis has over 30 years’ experience representing seriously injured and litigating negligence and offshore injury claims.
- Exclusive Focus on Maritime Injuries – Unlike other firms, The Willis Firm has been actively involved in representing injured maritime and Jones Act workers since the early 1990’s Same-Day Service – Our staff is available 24/7, and if we cannot assist you immediately we will return your call or respond usually in 1-4 hours.
- No-Fee Representation – We do not ask you to pay any legal fees or costs while your case is pending, and you do not pay anything unless we help you secure a financial recovery.
- Commitment to Fighting for Maximum Compensation – Our goal is simple: to help you secure maximum compensation as quickly as possible. If a fair settlement is not on the table, we will take your case to trial.
What Our Clients Say
Here is just a small sampling of what past clients have said about their experiences with the Willis Law Firm:
“When my husband got seriously injured[,] we interviewed lots of trial lawyers until we met Mr. Willis. Instantly we knew he was the one. He didn’t let us down. His tenacity and fight changed our lives.” – Sherry Lynn B.
“When my dad was diagnosed with cancer due to toxic chemicals in some holding tanks, our family talked to many law firms, but chose Mr. Willis as our attorney. He worked tirelessly throughout the legal process and saw to it that our family and our needs were well taken care of. He remains a friend of our family and we highly recommend him to anyone who needs someone to fight for them.” – Lindsey C.
“After I got seriously injured[,] I felt lost and helpless. My father suggested I call Attorney Willis to help. His legal staff was amazing. Extremely patient and always called back when they promised. They were always available for me and helped push my case along fairly quickly. I highly recommend them to anyone I know.” – Melvin D.
Get Started with a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
If you are ready to discuss your claim, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Attorney David P. Willis will meet with you personally to answer your questions and help you understand your rights. Remember, we are here for you 24/7, so call 1-800-468-4878 or submit your case online now.