How to File a Claim When You Break a Bone Working Offshore

Offshore Injuries Sep 15, 2023

Broken bones are painful injuries. They are also expensive injuries that can leave injured workers struggling to pay their bills while they rest and recover. Fortunately, offshore workers are entitled to financial compensation for their broken bones in many cases. If you suffered a broken bone while working offshore, you can hire a Texas offshore accident lawyer to help you seek financial compensation at no out-of-pocket cost.

Offshore workers are protected under the Jones Act. While Texas’s workers’ compensation law doesn’t apply to offshore workers, the Jones Act is a federal law that protects injured “seamen” who don’t qualify for benefits. But, while the Jones Act provides injured seamen with clear legal rights, filing a successful claim can be challenging—and you can lose your legal rights if you aren’t careful.

Steps to File a Claim After Breaking a Bone in an Offshore Accident

With this in mind, if you have suffered a broken bone while working offshore, it is important to make sure you know what you need to do in order to protect your legal rights. Here are seven key steps for filing a claim after breaking a bone in an offshore accident:

1. Document the Scene of the Accident (if Possible)

If you are still on the vessel or platform where you got injured, you should document the scene of your accident, if possible. If you can’t walk because you have a broken bone in your leg or foot, then you shouldn’t put yourself at risk for further injury. But, if you can still safely access the site of your accident, it will be helpful if you can take photos and videos with your phone to thoroughly document the location where you suffered your bone fracture.

Regardless of whether you can document the scene of the accident, you should also document your broken bone. Take pictures of your injury before getting a cast, if possible, and continue to take photos throughout the recovery process.

2. Get Treatment for Your Broken Bone

Speaking of getting a cast, if you have not done so already, you should get treatment for your broken bone right away—even if it means seeing the doctor on your ship or rig. Setting a broken bone promptly can be important for reducing the risk of long-term complications, and immobilizing the injured area can be critical for starting your recovery. Getting treatment promptly is important for protecting your legal rights as well, as it helps with establishing where and when your injury occurred.

3. See Your Own Doctor When You Get Back to Land

Even if you obtained treatment from your ship’s or rig’s doctor initially, you should still see your own doctor when you get back to land. You have the right to choose your own doctor under the Jones Act, and, unfortunately, ship and rig doctors don’t always have injured offshore workers’ best interests in mind. As soon as you are able to do so, you should schedule an appointment at your doctor’s office or at the hospital. Tell your doctor what happened (including any treatment you received while offshore), and make sure you know what you need to do in order to recover as quickly as possible.

4. Take Detailed Notes About the Accident

Once you have stabilized, you should take 10 to 15 minutes to write down everything you can remember about the accident. Try to answer questions like:

  • Where were you when you got injured?
  • What were you doing when you got injured?
  • Did any of your coworkers witness the accident?
  • How were the weather and sea conditions at the time of the accident?
  • Did an issue with the ship, platform or any equipment play a role in causing your fracture?

The more details you can record, the better. At this stage, any information you can provide will assist your Texas offshore accident lawyer with assessing your legal rights.

5. Talk to a Texas Offshore Accident Lawyer About the Claim(s) You Should File

Offshore workers who suffer broken bones on the job can potentially file a few different types of claims under the Jones Act. Determining which claim (or claims) you can file will require the insights of an experienced Texas offshore accident lawyer. The types of claims you may be able to file include:

  • Maintenance and Cure Maintenance and cure benefits are available to all injured seamen regardless of how they got injured on the job.
  • Unseaworthiness – If you suffered a broken bone because your vessel or platform was unseaworthy, you may be entitled to additional financial compensation.
  • Jones Act Negligence – Seamen who suffer broken bones can also seek additional financial compensation in cases involving Jones Act negligence.

6. Work with Your Lawyer to Calculate the Value of Your Claim(s)

From medical bills to lost income, broken bones can be incredibly expensive. When you have a claim (or claims) under the Jones Act, the amount you can recover depends on the costs you have incurred—and will incur—as a result of your broken bone.

If you are not limited to seeking maintenance and cure benefits for your broken bone, your lawyer may be able to help you recover just compensation for all of your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Prescriptions, medical supplies and other out-of-pocket costs
  • Lost income and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other financial and non-financial losses

7. Rely on Your Lawyer’s Advice to Make Smart Decisions

Regardless of how much you are entitled to recover, you will need to rely on your lawyer’s advice to make smart decisions. Should you accept a settlement offer for your broken bone? Or should you keep fighting to recover the full compensation you deserve? These are critical questions, and they are questions that you can only answer with an experienced Texas offshore accident lawyer on your side.

Request a Free Consultation with a Texas Offshore Accident Lawyer Today

Did you suffer a broken bone while working offshore? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To request a free consultation with a Texas offshore accident lawyer, call 800-468-4878 or send us a message online today.

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
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Houston, Texas 77056

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Houston, Texas 77029

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