An offshore injury lawyer specializes in helping workers who spend much of their time on seagoing vessels. These workers are exposed to risk on a near-constant basis, so they need their employers to take extra care for their well-being. A slick surface, an awkward blind spot, a single splayed wire – these are just some of the small dangers that can seriously injure a worker. And medical assistance may be hours away, which means even a slight injury may escalate to something life-threatening.
Fortunately, many ship workers and seamen are protected by the powerful Jones Act, which gives them legal rights that few other workers share. This includes the right to sue an employer for negligence, which means a hurt worker may recoup much more compensation for an injury. However, a worker will have to prove their case in court, which means they need experienced, knowledgeable legal representation to manage the claim.
What claims can an offshore injury lawyer assist with?
As long as a seaman is qualified under the Jones Act, they can sue an employer for negligence, and a ship owner if their vessel is not seaworthy. In both cases, the seaman can be put in great danger, so employers and ship owners must put forth every effort to provide a safe work environment. In most industries, hurt workers have to go to great lengths to prove employer negligence, but claims filed using the Jones Act are different. Victims have a much lower bar to clear in terms of proof, which greatly increases the liability an employer may have in the event of an accident.
For example, in most settings, if a worker slips on a slick surface and breaks their arm, they may only receive worker’s compensation, even if the employer is partly responsible for the danger. That’s because victims filing negligence claims against an employer must prove that the employer’s negligence was the prevailing factor. With the Jones Act, though, an offshore injury lawyer only has to demonstrate that the employer’s negligence was involved to any degree at all.
Qualified seamen can sue for the medical expenses, their current and future lost wages, and their current and future pain and suffering. It can be difficult to quantify these values, but an attorney can help with this, ensuring that a victim is taken care of going forward.
However, it is also essential that a victim prove that they are qualified under the Jones Act. Though there are a couple requirements to demonstrating qualification, the major hurdle a victim must clear involves their work history. Qualified seamen must spend at least 30 percent of their time on a navigating vessel while contributing to the vessel’s purpose. An offshore injury lawyer can prove this on the victim’s behalf, preventing any attempt to undermine the victim’s claim based on their work history.
Seamen hurt on a vessel may face years, or a lifetime of recovery. An offshore injury lawyer will ensure that these workers can approach their recovery with the resources they need, and help them fight for their legal rights.