Houston Offshore Injury Lawyer
The oil industry is a key component of America’s energy sector, and offshore rigs provide jobs to thousands of Houston oil workers. These jobs can be dangerous, however, as they involve heavy physical labor and complex machinery that requires proper training and maintenance to operate. Major accidents can often occur, causing injuries that could have been prevented.
Offshore injury cases are extremely complex, usually falling under the jurisdiction of maritime law, and are often subject to state and federal laws, as well. In addition, multiple parties may be liable in your case. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident offshore, you need an attorney who understands Texas oil production and maritime law.
The attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury are renowned in Texas for their knowledgeable, results-oriented representation. Contact the offshore injury lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury right away at (713) 659-4000 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.
Why You Need A Maritime Injury Lawyer
Accidents that occur offshore fall under a different set of laws than those that happen on dry land. This category of law is known as maritime or admiralty law. Jurisdiction and regulations in maritime law can be complicated and are often different than those of a typical land-based accident, which have different rules for liability and negligence.
A good attorney skilled in maritime law will know how to conduct a proper offshore accident investigation, researching all issues related to fault and liability. There may be several parties with some level of responsibility, and an experienced lawyer will know how to hold each one accountable for their negligence.
Additionally, accidents of this nature can be severe, causing devastating injuries and involving millions of dollars in damages. Oil company insurers have skilled lawyers on their side who know how to avoid paying out insurance claims. You need a legal team who will fight the insurance company for your right to compensation for your injuries.
Why Hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury To Handle Your Claim?
The oil rig lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury have been helping people in Houston recover compensation for their injuries for years. We take pride in our ability to provide top-quality legal representation and personalized service to each one of our clients. We work hard to get you the best possible results.
We know the pain and stress involved in recovering from an accident like this. We help clients going through this ordeal every day. The successes we’ve won on behalf of our clients have earned us prestigious honors, such as The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. When you hire our firm, you bring in a team of advocates who will work tirelessly to ensure the success of your case.
Common Causes Offshore Accidents
Offshore oil rigs are industrial work sites, and there are many hazards present, including:
- Flammable materials – Oil rigs contain combustible chemicals and gases that could lead to an explosion or fire. An accident victim could suffer burns, as well as respiratory injuries.
- Falling hazards – Elevated platforms and rigging equipment, poorly secured harnesses, and stray tools could lead an employee to slip and fall. This type of accident could be as simple as tripping over a piece of equipment and falling on deck, or may even involve a person falling overboard.
- Dangerous equipment – Offshore work includes operating heavy machinery such as drills, derricks, pumps, and powerful nautical gear. If the equipment isn’t handled using proper safety measures, a catastrophic accident could occur.
- Improper maintenance – Oil rig equipment is made up of complex machinery and requires regular maintenance. Negligent repair practices can cause a component to fail and the user to become injured.
- Chemical injuries – Prolonged exposure to the dangerous chemicals on offshore sites can cause severe burns as well as lifelong illnesses, including cancer and brain damage.
- Offshore transportation – A mishap could occur on a boat or transport helicopter, causing a victim to fall overboard or sustain physical injuries.
An important question to answer in an injury claim is whether another party’s negligence caused your injuries. If an accident occurred because someone else failed to follow required safety procedures, you may be entitled to compensation.
Injuries in Offshore Accidents
A wide variety of injuries is possible in an offshore accident, but the resulting health problems are often severe because of the heavy equipment and dangerous materials in use. Some of the more common injuries in offshore accidents include:
- Burns from fire and/or chemicals
- Respiratory injuries from smoke or chemicals, which could become a long-term illness
- Long-lasting health effects from exposure to dangerous substances
- Traumatic head injuries or brain damage from heavy impacts
- Drowning from falling overboard
- Bone breaks and fractures from falling or from impacts in an explosion
- Lacerations and abrasions from sharp metal or jagged debris
- Muscle strains and sprains from slips and falls
You should seek immediate medical attention after any offshore accident, and follow your doctor’s orders regarding treatment and rehabilitation. Your diagnosis will serve as important proof in any compensation claim.
Offshore Accident Statistics
Let’s look at a few numbers related to offshore accidents:
- A 2014 study found that the fatality rate in the oil and gas extraction industry is seven times higher than for other industries.
- Marine accidents caused $197 million in losses and killed 1,163 people in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- 2018 saw a sharp increase in the rate of offshore accidents after a three-year downturn, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Working on an oil rig is a dangerous occupation, and although it’s been ten years since the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, dangerous and life-altering accidents continue to occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve just been in an accident, you may have a lot of questions. Your attorney is the best source for information specific to your case, but here are a few answers that may help.
What laws might apply to an offshore injury case?
Usually, disputes on the water are governed by maritime law, and are subject to a different set of regulations and legal rulings. Some of the laws that may apply in your offshore case include:
- The Jones Act – This federal law allows certain workers injured in the course of their employment the right to sue their employer for compensatory damages. In order to receive compensation under this law, the worker must be classified as a seaman, and they must prove that their employer was negligent and that this negligence resulted in the seaman’s injuries.
- The Texas Water Safety Act – This state law governs the duties of boat operators, required maintenance, and safety regulations.
- Death on the High Seas Act – This federal law may offer family members financial relief if a worker died more than three nautical miles from shore.
- The Oil and Pollution Act – This federal law regulates oil refineries and rigs, and contains requirements that apply to the compensation process in an oil production accident.
A skilled maritime lawyer can advise you on the federal and state laws that apply to your own case, and how they could affect your claim.
What is “Maintenance And Cure”?
Maintenance and cure is a phrase used in the Jones Act that relates to compensation. “Maintenance” in this context refers to a stipend that covers the food and shelter the seaman would have received for working on a vessel. “Cure” refers to certain medical expenses.
Should I see the company doctor, or go to my own doctor?
You may choose to see your own doctor, or you may be directed to a company healthcare provider for treatment. Regardless of which option you choose, it is crucial to seek medical treatment right away.
What is the difference between a Jones Act claim and a workers’ compensation claim?
In a Jones Act claim, the fault and negligence of an employer, coworker, or injured employee play a role in determining compensation. Fault and negligence do not apply in workers’ compensation claims. The types of compensation available through workers’ comp are more limited. The employee’s medical bills and disability benefits may be paid, but the employee will not be able to collect damages for pain and suffering or lost wages. The Jones Act allows the employee to file a lawsuit that may address these and other forms of compensation.
What can I be compensated for in an offshore accident?
Your compensation will depend heavily on the severity of your injury and whether the negligent actions or inaction of others was to blame, but here are some forms of compensation that may be available in your case:
- Help with medical and hospitalization bills
- Prescription drug reimbursement
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of long-term care and rehabilitation
- Mental health care costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of household income
- Funeral and burial costs
Speak with your attorney to get a better idea of the types of compensation available in your own situation.
Talk to A Houston Offshore Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an offshore accident, contact the maritime lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury right away. Your focus right now needs to be on your recovery and your family’s well-being. Our firm can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and put together a solid case for compensation. Recovering from an accident of this magnitude is difficult for anyone, but you don’t have to face this terrible situation alone. Call our Houston personal injury attorneys at (713) 659-4000 today or fill out our contact form to get started. Your first consultation is completely free.