Fault & Evidence in Maritime Claims

Maritime Injuries Aug 17, 2022

If you’ve been injured on the job and need to file a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) or the Jones Act, you must be able to prove your right to compensation. Your employer (or its insurance company) isn’t going to pay voluntarily, so it is up to you to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. There are two key aspects to proving your legal rights after a maritime injury. The first is fault: Does fault matter? If so, how does it affect your legal rights? The second is evidence of liability: What evidence do you need to prove that you are entitled to LHWCA or Jones Act benefits? Fault in Maritime Injury Claims: When Does It Matter? Maritime accidents can result from a broad range of factors. From failure to supply necessary safety equipment to failure to maintain a seaworthy vessel, employers and vessel owners can be deemed at fault for workers’ injuries in many cases. But, workers can be responsible for their own injuries as well in some cases. So, when does fault matter? Injured maritime workers must be able to prove fault when filing the following types of claims: Jones Act Negligence – Under the Jones Act, injured maritime workers can obtain full compensation for on-the-job injuries that result from their employers’ negligence. Jones Act negligence claims require evidence of “slight” negligence or minor fault. Unseaworthiness – Maritime workers can also recover full compensation for injuries that result from unseaworthy vessels. […]


10 Frightening Oil Rig Accident Facts

Maritime Injuries Aug 3, 2022

Working on an oil rig can be extremely dangerous. From fires and explosions to slips, trips and falls, all types of accidents present risks for serious—if not life-threatening—injuries. Statistics show that working on an oil rig is among the most dangerous jobs you can have, and each year numerous workers suffer injuries and lose their lives in accidents that could have been avoided. What makes working on an oil rig so dangerous? Just how dangerous is working on an oil rig in the open water? Here are 10 frightening facts about oil rig accidents: 1. Oil Rig Workers Are Seven Times More Likely To Be Killed On the Job Federal statistics show that oil rig workers are seven times more likely to suffer a fatal injury on the job than the average worker in the United States. This is a major difference that can be attributed to several different factors. Not only do oil rig workers perform dangerous jobs, but they are often forced to work under hazardous conditions. As a result, while approximately 1 in 200,000 workers die at work on average, about 1 in 25,000 oil rig workers will lose their lives on the job. 2. Fires and Explosions are Leading Causes of Death On Oil Rigs On average, there are more than 100 oil rig fires in the Gulf of Mexico alone each year. While many of these fires are quickly contained, some of them lead to catastrophic injuries and losses. Explosions on oil rigs and during […]


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 […]


Injured Deckhands

Jones Act Jul 6, 2022

We Help Injured Deckhands Recover Just Compensation Under the Jones Act Deckhands who work on all types of vessels face injury risks on a daily basis. Getting injured on the job can not only be painful, but it can also be extremely expensive. Between their medical bills and lost wages, many deckhands struggle to stay afloat after suffering job-related injuries. Fortunately, the Jones Act provides injured deckhands with a source of financial compensation in most cases. Are You a Deckhand? Working as a deckhand can entail a variety of duties. From handling lines and operating fishing equipment to painting and cleaning, deckhands do all types of jobs to help keep their vessels clean, safe, and operating efficiently. Unfortunately, vessel owners and operators don’t always treat their deckhands with the same level of respect. Deckhands are often expected to work under hazardous conditions, without the training and equipment they need to stay safe, and without regard to their own personal safety. Additionally, working as a deckhand can be extremely physically demanding, and this adds to the risks (and stress) of working long hours day after day onboard a vessel on the sea. So, if you are a deckhand and you have been injured on the job, you are not alone. In fact, deckhands regularly get injured while performing their job duties—whether doing routine tasks on deck or helping respond to emergency situations. Fortunately, the Jones Act protects deckhands just like it protects other offshore and maritime workers, and you can hire […]


Can I File a Jones Act or LHWCA Claim if I Slipped on Algae?

Jones Act Jun 30, 2022

Algae is a persistent issue on all types of vessels. It can present risks for land-based maritime workers as well. If you are an offshore or maritime worker and you got injured slipping on algae, what are your legal rights? Here’s what you need to know: Why is Algae So Slippery? Algae is a type of marine organism that can grow extremely quickly under the right conditions. Moist and warm environments are ideal for algae, which can “bloom” on an extraordinary scale overnight. However, algae can also grow slowly over time, and as algae builds up on ship decks and other surfaces, it can become very slippery. This is due to a combination of algae’s high water content, durable structure, and smooth texture. In fact, studies have shown that wet algae can even be more slippery than ice—though just barely. While studies have found ice to have a coefficient of friction of 0.017, algae’s coefficient of friction can be as low as 0.015. If you think about how dangerous it can be to walk on ice, you can get an idea of the dangers of walking on algae on the job. Offshore and maritime workers also face a high risk of slipping on algae because most walking surfaces in the maritime work environment are designed to prevent slips and falls. If you are used to walking on a ship deck that is textured to provide traction, you might not be prepared for the slip-and-fall risk of stepping on algae. This […]


Surveillance After a Maritime Injury

Maritime Injuries Jun 23, 2022

If you work in the maritime industry and you have been injured on the job, there is a good chance that you are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act or another federal maritime law. But, even if you are clearly entitled to compensation, your employer’s insurance company will try to fight your claim by all means available—and this may include conducting surveillance. Louisiana maritime injury attorney David Willis explains. Insurance Companies Regularly Conduct Surveillance of Maritime Workers When you file a claim under the Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), you may get the feeling that you are being watched. If you do, you could be under surveillance. Insurance companies conduct surveillance of workers who have filed Jones Act and LHWCA claims for two main reasons: To Uncover Fraud – The insurance company may be following you to see if you are truly injured. In some cases, workers who have not injured file claims in hopes of collecting benefits, and the insurance companies will go to great lengths to uncover this type of fraud. To See if You are Taking Care of Your Injuries – Even if the insurance company isn’t trying to accuse you of fraud, it may be trying to blame you for failing to take care of your injuries. If your recovery is taking longer than it should because you are ignoring your doctor’s advice, the insurance company will want to use this against you. In addition to following injured workers, insurance […]


Barge Cleaner Accidents

Barge Injuries Jun 16, 2022

If you clean barges for a living, you face health and safety risks on a daily basis. Barges transport oil, coal, trash, debris, and various types of chemicals; and, once they have been emptied, they need to be cleaned. But, cleaning an emptied barge can be extremely dangerous, and many barge cleaners find themselves in need of an experienced Texas maritime injury lawyer. Understanding the Risks You Face as a Barge Cleaner Barge cleaners face both visible and invisible risks when doing their jobs. Unfortunately, while companies are supposed to ensure that their barge cleaners are working in safe environments, many do not. As a result, barge cleaners routinely face risks such as: Biological Hazards – Working in close proximity to sewage, decomposing material, mold, and other biological hazards can expose barge cleaners to various health risks. Flammable and Combustible Materials – Oil and fuel residue, trash, uncontrolled electricity, and other fire and combustion risks can leave barge cleaners suffering from severe burns, if not life-threatening injuries. Exposure to Harmful Fumes and Particulates – Breathing in fumes and particulates can cause lung damage and respiratory conditions that can affect barge cleaners for the rest of their lives. Exposure to Harmful Noise – When working inside of barges, barge cleaners can be exposed to noises that are loud enough to cause ear injuries and temporary or permanent hearing impairment. Exposure to Toxic Chemicals – Skin exposure to toxic chemicals can also cause severe and painful burns, and these injuries can leave […]


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 […]


Evidence Considered in Maritime Injury Claims

Maritime Injuries May 24, 2022

Have You Suffered a Maritime Injury? You Will Need Evidence to Collect the Financial Compensation You Deserve You may be entitled to financial compensation if you suffered a maritime injury on the job. The Jones Act and other federal laws provide maritime workers with clear legal rights—including the right to “no-fault” compensation in many cases. But, regardless of what rights you have, you will need evidence to collect the financial compensation you deserve. Even if you have a “no-fault” claim under the Jones Act, you will need to prove that you suffered your maritime injury on the job. If you have a fault-based claim against your employer, a vessel owner or another company, you will need additional evidence of negligence or unseaworthiness. Maritime Injury Claims vs. “Ordinary” Personal Injury Claims Collecting evidence for a maritime injury claim and collecting evidence for an “ordinary” personal injury claim on land are very different. Many of the types of evidence used to prove maritime injury claims are unique, and there are unique considerations for collecting evidence in maritime injury cases as well. For example, timing is often a critical factor in maritime injury cases. When an accident happens on a vessel at sea, evidence of the accident can disappear before the vessel gets back to land. Proving liability for an accident that involved hazardous water or weather conditions presents unique challenges as well; and, in many cases, employers and vessel owners will attempt to fix issues before injured workers can gather the evidence […]


Understanding Dry Dock Accidents and Your Right to Financial Compensation

Maritime Injuries May 5, 2022

Working at a dry dock can be dangerous. While many people assume that working on the land is safer than working on the water, this isn’t necessarily the case. Dry dock accidents are common, and many dry dock workers find themselves in need of financial compensation to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Common Dry Dock Accidents Part of the reason why dry dock accidents are so common is that there are so many different types of accidents that can occur. For example, some of the most common accidents that leave dry dock workers suffering from serious injuries include: Exposure to Toxic Fumes or Vapors – Working in confined areas or in close proximity to boats, equipment, supplies, or materials that release toxic fumes or vapors presents several risks for dry dock workers. In addition to the risk of inhalation injuries, burns and hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) are very real risks as well. Flooding – Flooding is a risk for drydock workers who work in graving docks. If water enters a graving dock unexpectedly, workers in the dock can find themselves facing life-or-death scenarios. Forklift and Crane Accidents – Transporting materials and equipment into drydocks or onto vessels with forklifts and cranes can be a dangerous operation. This is especially true if the operator’s vision is obstructed, if the operator gets distracted, or if dry dock workers are unable to get out of the way to avoid being hit or crushed. Shifting Vessels – Dry docked vessels can […]


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