Working on an oil rig is a high-risk environment, but if you have been involved in an incident, you may still be entitled to compensation. Naturally, if you’ve been injured while you’re working, you should first get medical treatment. This is to protect your health, but it will also provide evidence that you’ve been hurt, which may help you if you wish to pursue a claim.
Consulting a Local Legal Expert
Once you have sought medical assistance, your next move should be to seek legal advice. A local legal expert that specializes in this area will be best able to advise you. Maritime and offshore injury lawyers in Houston, for instance, will be able to explain the laws specific to this state and advise you on the best way to proceed with your case.
What Is Maritime Law?
Usually, workers’ rights are covered by workers’ compensation programs, but if you’re working on an oil rig, you won’t be covered by state or federal law. Instead, this type of work falls under Admiralty Law, which is usually known as Maritime Law. There are two specific compensation laws that can be applied.
The Jones Act
This act is for injuries acquired at sea, and it covers workers in fishing, sailing, and the cruise industry. However, maritime law considers some types of oil rigs to be sea-going vessels, including jack-up rigs and tension leg platforms that are in navigable waters. If the worker spends more than 30% of their time on one of these rigs, they are covered by this act.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
This act covers stationary rigs, so if you’re working on a platform that is fixed to the ocean floor, you’ll fall under this category. It also provides cover for maritime personnel who are land-based, such as workers in docks and shipping yards.
What If I Can’t Seek Legal Advice Immediately?
Ideally, you would consult a legal professional immediately after the incident. However, if you are receiving medical care, this may not be possible. In this situation, you should still seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. The time frame for filing a claim varies between states, and you may miss the opportunity if you don’t follow the legal procedures for your state.
What Injuries Can I Claim For?
The most usual injuries on an oil rig tend to be falls and broken bones. The nature of the work means that burns and respiratory problems from chemical exposure are also common. There is also a lot of heavy machinery used in this type of work, so crushing injuries can be experienced. However, even if you have a minor injury, such as a strain, which is impacting your life, you may be able to claim compensation.
It’s worth knowing that you may be able to claim for former injuries, especially if you are still suffering. In some cases, injuries develop and worsen over time, and the legal processes will take this into account. Your legal team will determine whether your claim is within the statute of limitations and advise you on how best to advance your claim.
What Compensation Can I Receive?
You may be able to claim for a variety of costs, including lost wages and medical expenses. You may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, or for the wrongful death of a family member.
The Jones Act and Compensation
The Jones Act splits compensation into two separate areas, and you may be entitled to both. You can also claim for potential loss of earnings and future medical expenses.
This compensation is to support you while you recover. It may cover your living expenses, your travel expenses, and utility payments, for example, and it is based on your general living costs.
This compensation covers your medical treatment, and so it covers visits to doctors or specialists and medications. It also covers physical therapy and counseling.
The Longshore Act and Compensation
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you can claim reasonable medical bills and rehabilitation costs for temporary injuries. You may also be entitled to your wages while you are recovering. If you are deemed to be permanently disabled, you may also receive compensation for your loss of future earnings.
Maritime law is a complex legal area, and so if you have been injured on an oil rig, you should seek advice from a local legal expert. They will be able to evaluate the specifics of your case and provide you with professional guidance as you file your claim.