Offshore Accident Attorney: What You Need to Know
Working offshore on an oil rig or other maritime job comes with inherent risks. If you suffer an injury while working offshore, you may need to consult an offshore accident attorney to protect your rights and pursue compensation. Here is what you need to know about offshore accident lawyers and offshore injury claims.
What is an Offshore Accident Attorney?
An offshore accident attorney is a lawyer who specializes in representing offshore workers who have been injured on the job. They have experience handling legal claims arising from accidents and injuries that occur on offshore oil rigs, ships, drilling platforms, and other maritime work sites.
Offshore accident lawyers understand maritime law, Jones Act negligence claims, and other legal issues unique to offshore injuries. They work to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages when offshore companies are responsible for accidents and injuries.
When Do You Need an Offshore Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of injury while working offshore, it’s a good idea to consult an offshore accident attorney. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic injuries from falls, equipment malfunctions, collapses, explosions, etc.
- Amputations and crush injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
An experienced offshore injury lawyer can investigate your accident, gather evidence, determine if negligence was involved, and pursue compensation through a maritime personal injury claim or Jones Act lawsuit. With complex legal and insurance issues, offshore workers should not attempt to handle these cases alone.
Choosing the Right Offshore Accident Attorney
When selecting an offshore accident attorney, you’ll want to look for these key qualities:
- Extensive experience with offshore injury cases – Look for an attorney who focuses specifically on offshore accidents and has a proven track record of results.
- Knowledge of maritime and Jones Act laws – They should thoroughly understand maritime legal protocols, statutes of limitations, Jones Act negligence standards, and other laws governing your case.
- Resources to investigate your claim – The attorney should be prepared to gather evidence, interview witnesses, inspect the accident scene, hire experts, and build the strongest case.
- A team approach – Find a law firm that can bring experience in maritime law, personal injury, insurance claims, and other areas to build a strong case.
- A track record of favorable verdicts and settlements – Ask about their success rate negotiating settlements or winning verdicts in similar offshore accident cases.
Offshore Accident Lawsuit Process
If negotiations with insurance companies fail to result in a satisfactory settlement, an offshore accident attorney may file a lawsuit to pursue compensation. Here is an overview of the offshore injury litigation process:
- Investigation – The attorney will work quickly to gather evidence at the accident scene, interview witnesses, obtain medical records, evaluate safety policies and procedures, and build a theory of liability.
- Filing the Lawsuit – The case will be filed in federal court under maritime law and/or the Jones Act. The complaint names the plaintiff’s allegations and demands compensation from the defendant.
- Discovery – During discovery, the legal teams request relevant documents, interrogatories and depositions to support their case theories. Your attorney will gather evidence establishing liability.
- Settlement Negotiations – Many cases settle out of court once liability is clear. Your lawyer will negotiate aggressively to obtain a fair settlement covering your damages.
- Trial – If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to a bench trial. Your lawyer will present witnesses, evidence and expert testimony to prove negligence caused your accident and injuries.
- Judgment – The judge will decide the outcome at trial. If successful, the defendant will be ordered to pay damages covering your losses.
Having an experienced offshore accident attorney is critical when navigating this complex process. They know how to maximize your compensation under maritime law.
Should I get an attorney for an offshore injury?
Yes, offshore accident victims should always consult an experienced maritime attorney. Offshore cases involve complex legal issues best handled by lawyers focusing specifically on offshore accidents. They have resources to investigate, prove liability, and maximize your payout.
How much does an offshore accident lawyer cost?
Most offshore accident attorneys work on contingency, meaning they only collect fees if they recover compensation for you. The fee is a percentage of your settlement amount, typically ranging from 20% to 40%. There are no upfront costs.
How long do I have to file an offshore injury lawsuit?
Time limits called statutes of limitations apply to offshore accident claims. In most cases you have 3 years to file a claim, but in some states it’s less. An attorney can evaluate your case and file before the deadline.
What damages can I recover in an offshore accident claim?
If another party was negligent and caused your offshore accident, you can recover damages for medical expenses, lost income and benefits, reduced earning capacity, physical and mental pain and suffering, and other losses.
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor offshore injury?
Even if you only suffered minor injuries, having legal representation can substantially increase your settlement payout. Attorneys have resources to establish negligence, prove future complications, and negotiate top dollar settlements.
How long will my offshore accident lawsuit take?
It depends on the complexity of your case. Many claims settle within a year. Cases going to trial can take two years or more. Your attorney will work quickly to get you compensation sooner.
Suffering an offshore injury can be devastating. An experienced offshore accident lawyer can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. Be sure to consult an attorney early in the process to protect your rights after any kind of maritime work accident.