Offshore Accidents

Offshore Accidents Lawyer in Lake Charles

Offshore work can be extremely dangerous. Often, offshore accidents are a result of poorly maintained machinery, negligence of a crew member, or the lack of protective gear. Our experienced Lake Charles offshore accident lawyers understand the Louisiana laws and statutes and ensure that our client’s claims are represented in the best way possible.

lake charles offshore accident lawyer

A Lake Charles offshore accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need. We’ll provide you with skilled representation, and we’ll also be here to answer whatever questions you may have regarding the damages that are available to you. Call us at (337) 433-1414 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.

Common causes of offshore accidents

Based on our experience, here are a few common causes of offshore accidents:

  • Lack of safety equipment, or insufficient safety equipment, on board.
  • Insufficient crew members to perform a task, resulting in high work pressure and stress.
  • Damaged equipment.
  • Unclear and/or inadequate instructions from superiors.
  • Risky working conditions such as broken or non-functional machinery.
  • Improper training.
  • Violation of United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) regulations.

What is the Jones Act? 

In many instances, employees who are injured at work can only receive money and benefits through workers’ compensation–they don’t have the option of suing their employer or coworker for any damages suffered as a result of their negligence. 

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, often referred to as the Jones Act, was designed for an employee who was injured in an offshore on-the-job accident to take legal action against their employer or coworker for any negligence that either caused or contributed to their injury. Under the Act, you can obtain compensation from your employer or coworkers for the damages you’ve incurred such as medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

If you’re planning to take action under the Jones Act, here are two very important things you’ll need to know.

First, you must be employed by a vessel owner or shipping company and spend a substantial amount of your time working on or for the vessel. Almost any kind of floating workplace could qualify as a vessel under the Jones Act, but not every water-based workplace will. For example, a floating platform may qualify as a vessel, while a fixed platform may not.

Second, the only way you’ll be able to obtain compensation through the Jones Act is to provide proof that your employer or coworkers were negligent, and that their negligence was the direct cause of the accident that led to your injury. There are several ways you can prove fault, including:

  • Your coworker or coworkers committed an unsafe or improper act.
  • Your employer failed to maintain a safe workplace.
  • Your employer gave improper or unsafe instructions. 

These are just two of the reasons why you’ll need an experienced Lake Charles offshore accident lawyer with The Johnson Firm. We have a deep understanding of Jones Act lawsuits and know how to perform detailed investigations to uncover the evidence needed to make our client’s cases as strong as possible. Call today to learn how we can help you.

Common injuries resulting from offshore accidents

The sea can be very dangerous, even with today’s technology. That’s why it’s so important for everyone involved on a ship – from the owner to the cook – to follow all safety rules and encourage safe use of equipment. If anyone fails to do so, there is a serious risk of injury that could change, or end, a person’s life in an instant.

Slip-and-fall

The ship’s deck is not only wet with seawater but can also be covered with oil or grease. This is a perfect environment for a potentially devastating slip-and-fall accident. Many vessels have chemicals onboard, which can even make the slip risk even more dangerous. 

lake charles offshore accident injury

When employers don’t take action to mitigate those risks, they may be found liable for an injury. They must properly train employees on appropriate safety precautions such as:

  • Wearing shoes with an appropriate amount of grip
  • Cleaning the deck properly
  • Always using caution when trying to navigate a wet surface. 

Overexertion injuries

Offshore workers are often required to lift extremely heavy objects. If they’re not trained in proper lifting techniques, they can suffer severe injuries such as hernias, torn rotator cuffs, and others. In addition to being thoroughly trained, employees should also be allowed to take sufficient breaks. 

Workers struck by onboard objects

Vessels carry extremely heavy equipment such as booms and winches. When these items strike an employee, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic, potentially even fatal. Employers must prepare workers for this type of environment and must have strong safety policies to try to prevent these accidents from occurring.

For example, they must require that workers wear hard hats whenever they’re near equipment, and they are required to keep the machinery and equipment properly maintained to reduce the risk of accidents. 

Workers caught in machinery

This is another common cause of accidents aboard offshore vessels – and one of the most horrifying. When this type of accident occurs, severe injuries and fatalities can easily take place. A worker can become entangled in moving parts, or be crushed between two machines.

Employers must do everything they can to reduce the chances that this type of accident will occur such as providing thorough machinery training and instructing them to always be aware of their surroundings and to stay away from any moving parts.

Explosion and fire injuries

Explosions and fires are, unfortunately, common occurrences on offshore vessels. Employers often fail to take the necessary safety precautions to prevent these incidents from happening and can face substantial liability as a result.

lake charles offshore accident lawyer fire

An employer may also be held liable if it fails to have a safety plan in place and fails to properly train workers on how to escape should a fire or explosion occur.

Damages you may be able to recover

If you’ve suffered an injury on a vessel due to the negligence of a coworker or your employer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover a wide range of damages, including the following:

  • Medical bills – The more severe your injury, the higher your medical expenses will be – as a result, you may be eligible to pursue more significant compensation to cover your estimated future medical expenses. Keep all records associated with your medical care and provide them to your attorney including visit summaries, treatment bills, and diagnostic bills such as X-rays and scans.
  • Lost wages – Depending on your injury, you might be unable to work for quite a long time. Since you only have so many sick days and so much vacation time, you’ll probably lose wages soon after your accident while you recover. You might be so injured that you’ll never be able to return to your original job and you’ll have to take a lower-paying position as a result. Not only could a lawsuit compensate you for your lost wages, it could also provide compensation for your loss of future earning capacity, including money you would have made through bonuses, promotions, and more.
  • Pain and suffering – Reimbursement of medical bills does not make up for the suffering you go through while injured. The law allows you to seek compensation for that suffering, and is often permanent.
  • Mental trauma – Damages aren’t limited to the tangible losses mentioned above. You may be able to recover more subjective damages, including mental and emotional trauma. Courts recognize that a serious injury not only affects your physical wellbeing, but your mental and emotional health.

How an offshore accident attorney can help

As a leading team of personal injury attorneys in Lake Charles, we help victims understand that the general maritime law and the Jones Act include provisions for maintenance and cure, injury, and piracy to protect offshore workers. According to this law, it’s the sole responsibility of the shipowner to ensure that the vessel is safe, well-maintained, and sea-worthy.

Our Lake Charles offshore accident lawyers are here to help

Our experienced Lake Charles attorneys are experienced with using maritime law and the Jones Act to pursue rightful compensation for our clients who were injured in an offshore accident.

If you feel that you might have a claim and have questions before proceeding, The Johnson Firm is waiting to help you. Call us at (337) 433-1414 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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An injury can impact your life tremendously. Every type of injury that happens as a result of someone else’s negligence requires the attention of an experienced attorney.