Workboat Accident Lawyer – Supply Vessels, Crew Boat 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. Unfortunately, crew members can be injured while operating in these 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. The worker, however, should still consult with a workboat accident lawyer to make sure they receive ample compensation.
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. These workboats require strenuous labor, and injuries to workers are common. Your employer’s Jones Act insurance should pay for your injuries, and our accident attorneys are here to make sure that happens.
Legal Protections After a Workboat or Crew Boat Accident
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 workboat 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 workboat and crew boat accident lawyers 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 workboat 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.
Common Causes of Workboat and Crew Boat Accidents
Workboat and crew boat accidents can result from a variety of different causes. Regardless of the cause of the accident – and whether the accident involves a collision, capsizing, fall overboard or an injury onboard – workers who are injured should speak with a lawyer about their legal rights.
When it comes to seeking maintenance and cure benefits, the cause of a workboat or crew boat accident doesn’t matter (with only a few exceptions). If you are a seaman and you were injured on the job, you are entitled to maintenance and cure. But, in order to seek additional compensation beyond maintenance and cure, it is necessary to prove the cause of the accident and who (or what company) is to blame.
Some examples of common causes of workboat and crew boat accidents include:
- Overloading workboats and crew boats with workers, cargo, equipment or supplies
- Navigating into hazardous water or weather conditions despite a forecast or warnings
- Negligent vessel operation by captains or crew members
- Inadequate workboat or crew boat maintenance
- Failure to repair or replace engines, bilge pumps and other equipment
- Failing to properly secure a workboat or crew boat during boarding or disembarking
- Failure to follow safety requirements regarding fire extinguishers, lifeboats, or personal floatation devices (PFDs)
Do You Have a Claim for a Workboat or Crew Boat Accident?
If you were injured onboard a workboat or crew boat; while boarding or disembarking a workboat or crew boat; or in a collision, grounding or other accident involving one of these vessels, there is a good chance that you have a claim. The Jones Act’s protections are broad, and they cover most individuals who work onboard commercial vessels on the water.
At a minimum, as a seaman, you should be able to file a claim for maintenance and cure benefits. But, you may be able to file other claims as well. For example, if your lawyer can show that the workboat or crew boat was unseaworthy or that your employer was negligent, then your lawyer may be able to help you secure compensation above and beyond maintenance and cure.
What To Do After a Workboat or Crew Boat Accident
Whether you suffered broken bones, burns, smoke inhalation, a head injury (i.e. a concussion), a back injury (i.e. a herniated or slipped disc), or any other type of injury in a workboat or crew boat accident, there are some steps you should take as soon as possible. These steps include:
- Seek treatment on land as soon as possible. While you can see the ship doctor initially if this is your only option, you should also see a doctor on land as soon as you can.
- Take detailed notes. Write down everything you can remember about how you got injured. What were you doing? Which of your coworkers witnessed the accident? What do you think caused the accident? These are all key details.
- Talk to a lawyer about your legal rights. While you may be entitled to financial compensation, recovering this compensation won’t be easy. As a result, it is extremely important that you talk to a lawyer right away.
Contact a Workboat Accident Lawyer if You Suffer from Crew Boat or Workboat Injuries
If you have been injured on a workboat, 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, our crew and workboat accident lawyers 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.