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Category: Offshore Injuries

Confined Spaces/Inhalation & A Recent Alert

Maritime Injuries Jul 20, 2022

For many offshore and maritime employees, working in confined spaces is part of the job. Unfortunately, working in confined spaces can be dangerous—especially offshore, and especially when employers prioritize their profits over their employees’ safety. U.S. Coast Guard: Multiple Factors Contributed to Crewmembers’ Exposure to Dangerous Levels of Gas in Confined Fish Hold For example, the U.S. Coast Guard recently issued a Marine Safety Alert warning of the dangers of working in fish holds on commercial fishing vessels. As the U.S. Coast Guard explains, commercial fishing vessel operators must verify the atmospheric conditions in their fish holds because failure to do so can expose workers to potentially fatal hazards: “There are specific hazards associated with the use of brine dip solutions, a common substance used in the industry. Brine dip combined with standing water can produce dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating a marine casualty where dangerous levels of H2S were present on a commercial fishing vessel, resulting in the hospitalization of crewmembers on board.” The U.S. Coast Guard issued its Marine Safety Alert after investigating a case in which a crewmember of a commercial fishing vessel fell into a fish hold where he was overcome by high levels of hydrogen sulfide. When another crewmember attempted to help them, this second crewmember “was immediately overcome by the gas and also fell into the hold.” The crewmembers had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the local fire department’s certified confined space […]

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Can You File a Jones Act Claim for a Repetitive Stress Injury?

Offshore Injuries Jun 9, 2022

In many maritime and offshore occupations, workers perform the same repetitive movements day in and day out. Whether you are a welder, you operate a shrimp net, you clean barges, or you are an engineer or able seaman, there is a good chance that your job entails repeating the same motions on a daily basis. This type of repetitive stress frequently leads to injuries, and maritime workers who suffer these injuries often face expensive medical bills and missed time from work. If you have a repetitive stress injury, can you file a claim under the Jones Act? Alabama offshore injury attorney David Willis explains. The Jones Act Covers Repetitive Stress Injuries The Jones Act covers all types of job-related injuries. This includes injuries caused by repetitive stress.  While most people think of job-related injuries as those caused by accidents (i.e., slips, falls, collisions, and falls overboard), repetitive stress injuries are actually among the most common types of injuries resulting in days missed from work. A key aspect of the Jones Act is that it covers qualifying maritime workers’ injuries regardless of how they got injured (with only very limited exceptions). This means you do not need to prove your employer is responsible in order to file for Jones Act benefits. While employers are responsible for workers’ injuries in many cases, proof of fault isn’t necessary; and if you can prove that your employer is responsible, then you can seek additional compensation for Jones Act negligence. So, if you qualify as […]

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Common Types of Maritime Collisions

Offshore Injuries Oct 1, 2021

While it might seem like maritime collisions should never happen, these accidents are alarmingly common. In fact, our maritime collision lawyers routinely hear from seamen and other maritime workers who need to seek compensation for accidents involving the following.

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Why Docks are Dangerous for Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Jul 1, 2021

Seaman and Other Maritime Workers Need to be Mindful of the Potential Hazards of Working on a Dock Working on a dock can be dangerous. Docks present various risks, and workers can – and do – suffer various types of injuries. While dock owners and employers should take steps to mitigate these risks, many fail to do so, and these failures often have severe consequences.

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5 Important Facts for Offshore Workers Who Live in Florida

Maritime Injuries May 28, 2021

Many Florida residents work offshore. If you are among them, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your legal rights—especially when you get injured on the job. Here are five important facts for offshore workers from Florida maritime injury lawyer David P. Willis: Fact #1: Most Offshore Workers are Entitled to “No-Fault” Benefits When They Get Injured on the Job There are two primary laws that protect offshore workers: (i) the Jones Act and (ii) the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Both of these laws entitle offshore workers to “no-fault” benefits when they get injured on the job. The right to “no-fault” benefits means that you can file a claim regardless of how you got injured. Whether your employer is responsible, a coworker made a mistake or you accidentally caused your own injury, you should talk to a Florida maritime injury lawyer about filing a claim under the Jones Act or the OCSLA. Fact #2: Many Offshore Workers Can Seek Additional Compensation for Fault In addition to “no-fault” benefits, many offshore workers can seek fault-based compensation as well. The Jones Act allows offshore workers to sue their employers for even “slight” negligence, and offshore workers will often have fault-based claims against other companies as well. For example, if you got injured on a rig, platform or vessel, the owner of the rig, platform or vessel may be liable. Or, if you got injured by a defective tool or piece of equipment, the manufacturer may […]

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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Offshore Workers in Texas?

Jones Act Apr 23, 2021

Under Texas law, most employers are required to provide workers compensation coverage for most employees. Unfortunately, this does not apply to employees who work offshore. But, there are federal laws that protect offshore workers; and, if you’ve been injured on the job, a Texas offshore accident lawyer can help you seek benefits for your injury. How Do I Seek Benefits if I Am Not Eligible for Workers Compensation? In most cases, workers who get injured offshore can seek benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that Congress enacted in order to provide benefits to workers who do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because they work on the open water. What Benefits are Available Under the Jones Act? The Jones Act provides “maintenance and cure” benefits to all eligible offshore workers. These are similar to workers’ compensation benefits in that they are designed to help cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. However, maintenance and cure benefits are typically much less than the benefits available through workers’ compensation. For this reason, the Jones Act affords additional options to injured workers. Under the Jones Act, offshore workers can also file claims for: Jones Act Negligence – If your employer is to blame for your injury (i.e. if it failed to provide adequate safety equipment or paired you with untrained crew members), a Texas offshore accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim for Jones Act negligence. Unseaworthiness – If […]

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FAQs: How Much Can I Recover Under the OCSLA?

Maritime Law Mar 26, 2021

If you work on an oil rig, platform or other fixed structure offshore, recovering your losses after an on-the-job injury will probably involve filing a claim under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). In this article, offshore accident lawyer David Willis explains what you need to know about your legal rights under the OCSLA. Who is Eligible to File a Claim Under the OCSLA? The OCSLA applies to offshore employees who work on rigs, platforms and other structures affixed to the outer continental shelf. It also applies to many offshore pipeline workers. In most areas around the United States, the outer continental shelf extends from about three to nine nautical miles from the coast to 200 nautical miles offshore. What Types of Benefits are Available Under the OCSLA? The benefits that are available under the OCSLA are similar to those that are available under state workers’ compensation laws. In most cases, injured workers who qualify for benefits under the OCSLA can recover: Medical Benefits – These benefits cover the cost of treating your injury. Disability Benefits – These benefits cover a portion of your lost wages if you are unable to work. Rehabilitation and Retraining Benefits – These benefits cover the cost of getting back to work if your injury prevents you from returning to your old job. Under the OCSLA, death benefits are also available to surviving family members. If you have lost a loved one working on the continental shelf, you will want to hire an offshore […]

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What are My Rights if Injured in an Offshore Accident in Alabama?

Offshore Injuries Feb 24, 2021

If you live in Alabama and work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, your legal rights after an accident will depend on how, where and why the accident happened. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may be limited to seeking “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act, or you may be able to recover full compensation by filing a claim under the Jones Act or other law. Regardless of your rights, it will be important to seek help, and you should consult with an offshore accident lawyer promptly. Your Rights Under the Jones Act If you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, you have the right to collect maintenance and cure benefits for your injury. These “no-fault” benefits are available regardless of how you got injured, but they only cover (i) your medical expenses, and (ii) daily living expenses of about $15 to $40 per day. In addition to providing “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits, the Jones Act also gives seamen the right to sue their employers for negligence. In fact, only proof of “slight” negligence is required. If your employer is to blame for your injury, you can hire an offshore accident lawyer to file a Jones Act lawsuit to recover full compensation. This is true whether your employer’s headquarters are located in Alabama or in another state. Your Rights Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) If you do not qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, then you may have rights […]

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New Study Reveals Most Common Offshore and Maritime Injuries

Maritime Injuries Feb 10, 2021

What are the most common offshore and maritime injuries? A recent study published in the Hellenic Shipping News answers this question. The study examines data from three different sources in an effort to determine what is the single most common cause of injuries at sea. Here, Jones Act lawyer David Willis breaks down what injured offshore and maritime workers need to know. The Seven Most Common Causes of Offshore and Maritime Injuries The data do not point to a single factor as the most common cause of offshore injuries. But, they do reach a consensus regarding the top seven causes of accidents on offshore and inshore waters. Based on the data studied, the seven most common causes of offshore and maritime injuries are: Slips and Falls Burns and Explosions Being Caught in Equipment Being Struck By Falling Objects Suffocation and Asphyxiation Lifting Accidents Other Causes While the Hellenic Shipping News notes that the three sources’ data sets are, “surprisingly similar given that each data set has a wide variety of vessel types,” there are some notable discrepancies. For example, while two of the sources identify slips and falls as the most common cause of injuries (accounting for 34 percent and 32 percent of all injuries in these sources’ studies), the third identifies “struck by” accidents as the leading cause—accounting for 37 percent of all injuries on the job. Additionally, while one of the sources identifies lifting accidents as the second most common cause (28 percent of all injuries), these accidents […]

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