Who Is An Offshore Accident Lawyer? How Can They Help You?
By TOI Team July 3, 2022 Update on : July 3, 2022
Being a seaman is a fascinating and adventurous job. Traveling the world on a boat gives you a sense of freedom and being close to nature. But aside from being exciting, working on the sea is riskier than working on the land. At sea, the chances of an accidental injury are significantly higher. Any injury, no matter how slight it may seem, has a chance of worsening. Because on the sea, the medical facilities are insufficient, and the medical care you can get is also limited.
In case of an injury at sea, contact an offshore accident lawyer to make a case for you and help you seek compensation for your damages.
Who is an Offshore Accident Lawyer?
An offshore Accident Lawyer is an attorney that is well versed in the laws of the sea, maritime laws, or admiralty laws. The seas have a different set of laws than land. As soon as you board a vessel to sea, the laws of the land no longer apply to you; in their place, maritime law starts to take effect.
If you or your relatives encounter an accident on the sea, you need to contact an offshore accident lawyer, not a regular lawyer. Regular attorneys practice only laws of the land, which are not applicable at sea. Only Maritime Lawyers Houston can help you in cases related to the sea.
What accidents can happen on the sea?
Following are some of the common accidents that can happen at sea.
Falling over is one of the most common accidents on the sea. The ship deck is slippery, and you can fall if you are not careful. If you slip next to an unprotected edge of the vessel, you can easily fall overboard. If you fall into the water, then it’s not a big problem. There is a high chance you will be rescued and be alive and kicking in a few days. But not all falling over accidents are that simple; you can fall on another vessel, or worse, in between vessels. Falling on another ship can result in severe injuries depending on your fall height. While falling between Ships is the most dangerous, rescue is difficult and can easily result in death.
Slips and falls
As mentioned before, ships are slippery, and you can fall easily. Slipping on a boat can result in various injuries depending on the circumstances. You can slip from stairs, next to machinery, or while carrying heavy equipment. A slipping accident can result in broken bones, damage to the brain, or even death.
While working on a ship, you often work in enclosed spaces, like the area under the deck, engine room, warehouse, etc. Working in confined spaces can cause various health complications due to a lack of oxygen and excess toxic gases.
Dock and pier injuries
Dock and pier injuries occur during loading and unloading cargo and heavy equipment from the ship. The risk of injuries and death is significantly higher when dealing with heavy loads. A little carelessness or mechanical failure can result in debilitating injury or death.
Traumatic Brain injuries
Any damage to the head can cause Traumatic Brain injuries. While working offshore, you are constantly in a high-risk situation. You can damage your head due to various reasons, for example.
- By slipping on the deck.
- Hit on the head by swinging cargo
A severe blow to the head can cause cognitive impairment, coma, or distortion of personality.
Loss of hearing
Seamen are constantly exposed to high-noise environments. It can cause hearing loss over time.
Hypothermia and frostbite
When working on the sea, you often encounter extreme environments like heavy rain and low temperatures. In such working conditions, the chances of developing Hypothermia or Frostbite are significant.
As mentioned earlier, at sea, working with heavy equipment is commonplace. While dealing with heavy stuff, any little mistake or carelessness can cause serious consequences. If cargo or heavy equipment hits you, it can break your bones or limbs.
If you break a limb or two, it’s not the worst case yet; you can still recover from it. But if your limb gets completely crushed, it will require amputation. There is no recovery from it, and life will never be the same again.
What to do when you encounter an accident in sea?
If you encounter an accident in the sea, here are the things you should do.
Keep a record or evidence
If you get injured at sea, try to take a photo or video of yourself at the accident site. You can ask your colleague to take a photo of you. Ensure that your face, injury, and a part of the vessel are in the image. It’s the evidence that you got injured while working on that vessel. With it, your offshore accident lawyer can win more compensation for you.
Seek medical attention
Find the ship’s medical staff for medical attention. Make sure everything is documented. It doesn’t matter if you want to seek compensation or not, proof is necessary. If you want to go to court, it will be helpful to your offshore accident lawyer.
Don’t sign any document or give a written record
A ship at sea is like a small community. Everyone will know of any interesting information on the same day. Naturally, news of your injury will be known by everyone, including the ship’s upper management. Upper management is usually very interested in such news. They will come to you for details.
Choose your words very carefully and explain the extent of your injury. The main point is not to sign any document or give a written record. Suppose you gave a written record to the ship’s management. In that case, it will directly affect the compensation your offshore accident lawyer can win for you in court.
Contact an offshore accident lawyer
Contact an offshore accident lawyer as quickly as you can. If your ship has internet or other communication connections and you have the authority to use it, then contact an offshore accident lawyer right away. If you can’t communicate with the outside world, wait until you reach the shore and contact a Maritime injury lawyer Houston. Explain your situation to them, including the extent of your injury, and seek their advice.
What compensation can your offshore accident lawyer help you claim?
Injuries at sea can be severe and can even worsen your life. An offshore accident lawyer can help you claim compensation according to the severity of your injury. The amount you can claim depends on the seriousness of your injury, the circumstances, and the amount of evidence you give to your offshore accident lawyer. Following are the major types of claims you can make:
If your injury is so severe that you can’t continue your work to earn money, you can make this claim. Your inability to work might be for some time, or it might be forever. Your offshore accident lawyer will help you make a claim in court and fight to win as much compensation for you as possible.
If the injury you suffered at sea is severe, then corresponding medical expenses will also be huge. On top of your injury, you have to deal with extra medical bills. Your Maritime injury Lawyer Houston can help you claim medical expenses. The medical claim can include money spent on surgery, physical therapy, mental health, rehabilitation, and transportation.
Pain and suffering
You can claim compensation for your physical and mental pain and suffering. Physical suffering includes the pain you endured during the injury and treatment, disfigurement, and other complications. Mental suffering includes anguish, anxiety, stress, and loss of happiness due to your injury.
Who is considered a maritime worker?
Anyone who works offshore can be called a seaman or a maritime worker. Following are some examples of maritime jobs.
- Ship Captain
- Ship Crew: including engineers, medical staff, pilots, sailors, etc.
- Offshore oil rig employees
How long does a maritime injury claim take?
Every case has a different resolution time. Usually, a maritime injury claim can take months to more than a year to resolve. So, make your claim early to get your compensation earlier.
Will my employer retaliate against me if I file a claim?
If you are worried that your company or employer will fire you if you claim compensation in court, then don’t worry. No need to be afraid; ask an offshore accident lawyer to file a claim for you with peace of mind. Retaliating against or deliberately targeting an employee because they filed a lawsuit in court is illegal. Most employers are aware of this law, so usually, they won’t do that but if your employer does fire you or retaliate against you in any way you have the right to file a lawsuit for it.
If you are injured at sea, keep a record and proof of that injury because injuries incurred at sea can worsen over time. Even if you don’t want to go to court now, you should at least keep the evidence. In case you change your mind later. Don’t file a claim yourself; ask an experienced offshore accident lawyer for advice. They are professional in handling maritime injury cases. They know all the tricks maritime and insurance companies do to lower compensation for injured seamen.