September 20, 2022

Offshore Accident Lawyer

Why Do You Need an Offshore Accident Lawyer?

After an offshore accident, an experienced attorney can help you negotiate insurance settlements or pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The results of your case could drastically improve the quality of your life going forward.

Offshore and maritime work accidents can cause catastrophic injuries in remote and far-off locations. The safety protocols on ships, rigs, and other maritime workplaces are vital for avoiding preventable harm. If you or your loved one has been injured by an offshore accident, an experienced lawyer can help you recover.

When dealing with insurance representatives, large companies, and international business interests, you need an attorney who can help protect your rights. It’s also important to have an advocate acting swiftly on your behalf to secure evidence and file paperwork before the relevant deadlines run out.

Pierce Skrabanek is located in Houston, Texas, where our proximity to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. brings us to the aid of dock workers, rig operators, and sailors in need of advocacy. If you’ve been impacted by offshore scaffolding, transportation, or hazard-related injuries on the job, reach out to our offices at (832) 690-7000 for a free consultation. You are not alone, and you deserve to heal with dignity and in peace. Our lawyers are ready to help.

What Causes Most Offshore Accidents & Injuries?

Offshore work on ships, rigs, and in the oil and gas industry come with a high risk of danger. The most common workplace accidents and offshore injuries are caused by:

  • Scaffolding: Falls from scaffolding can cause death, permanent paralysis, and brain injury. Those who suffer an emergency such as a heart attack or stroke while on scaffolding may also be injured by an extended delay in care. Examples include if their absence isn’t noticed right away, or if they’re in a tight, remote, or complicated spot.
  • Falling objects: Related to scaffolding, ladders, harnessed employees, and elevated walkways, there is a danger of falling tools and other objects. A helmet can only provide so much protection — falling objects can still cause concussions, limb injuries, broken bones, and severe lacerations.
  • Transportation: Moving parts create unpredictable and high-velocity dangers from aerial vehicles, boats, and ships, to on-deck vehicles that can roll, tip, or otherwise become unmoored. Collisions, crushing injuries, becoming pinned, and potential amputations are severe risks for workers.
  • Fire, electricity, and explosions: In the gas and oil industry especially, fires and potential explosions are an ever-present hazard. But even for other types of offshore work in shipping or patrol, engine fires and the risk of electrocution could imperil workers as well.
  • Weather: Water, wind, rain, ice, and snow can cause injury when workers are drowned, frostbitten, or cut by ice. Adverse weather can also cause slipping hazards, electricity conduits, and damage to machinery. Normally safe activities might become highly dangerous during inclimate weather, heightening the risk of injury, peril, or death. 

The Centers for Disease Control points out that Fatalities in Oil and Gas Extraction (FOG) are most commonly caused by traumatic injuries like accidents, as well as work-related chronic illnesses like respiratory problems. While these fatalities are difficult to identify, a skilled attorney can help you secure the evidence needed for a wrongful death claim.

What Are the Different Types of Offshore Accident Claims?

Any injuries sustained at work should be fully covered by insurance and workers’ compensation, but that is not always the case. Insurance companies are businesses that seek to retain money by denying claims, and employers are incentivized to avoid responsibility for costly harm. 

By hiring a lawyer, you have an experienced litigator to bring to initial negotiations or to trial (if necessary) and account for the true cost of your losses.

Offshore accident claims could entail:

  • Medical bills and associated expenses for travel to specialists or ongoing therapeutics
  • Lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and the loss of job-related benefits like health insurance (especially if the rest of the family relies on that health insurance as well)
  • Pain and suffering costs to a person’s mental health and the instability and stress such injuries cause for spouses and children

If the injuries suffered offshore cause or contribute to the person’s death, surviving loved ones may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Such funds can help secure the financial future of a family that lost a primary or sole breadwinner. 

Should the employer or company be unwilling to settle and the case proceeds to trial, that could open punitive damages, which are additional funds meant to punish the other party, and then awarded to you in addition to your other proven damages.

Hear from clients Curtis and Cheryl about their case against an oil rig company after Curtis suffered a stroke and was not offered adequate support to heal. Contact Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000 for representation.

Will I Be Fired if I File an Offshore Accident Claim?

It is illegal to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee who files a workplace injury claim or complaint. However, that doesn’t mean your boss or company won’t attempt to do so anyway. 

Pierce Skrabanek is located in Texas, where an employer may not terminate, demote, or otherwise discriminate against an employee for any of the above reasons. These protections also extend to individuals who are punished, threatened, or intimidated after reporting another person’s injury, or testifying in a proceeding related to their workplace injury case.

If you’re fired for suing over an injury or for accurately reporting on an offshore or maritime accident, including dock, pier, and shipyard incidents, your rights may have been violated. You would have the right to sue for wrongful termination as well as the other damages resulting from your injury.

When Should I Talk to an Offshore Accident Lawyer?

The sooner you speak to a lawyer after an offshore accident, the better. 

First, it’s important to secure evidence before it degrades or is potentially destroyed in order to protect the company instead of your best interests. Second, there are strict timelines for personal injury lawsuits — if you miss that window of opportunity, you could lose your right to all compensation, even if your case is strong. Third, it’s extremely important to protect your rights by having an attorney handle all communications with your employer so your words cannot be used against you.

The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek have decades of experience protecting workers and delivering results for families in Texas, offshore, and nationwide. Our relevant verdicts and settlements include:

  • $16.9 million: A verdict on behalf of a Jones Act seaman who contracted pneumonia while working on a jack-up rig in the Persian Gulf.
  • $14 million: A settlement achieved two days prior to trial for a Jones Act case against Hercules Offshore. The case involved severe head and orthopedic injuries sustained when a piece of drill pipe fell and struck a worker.
  • $11.6 million: A Houston, Texas verdict for a catastrophic injury that resulted in partial blindness for our client. This multi-million dollar result was achieved after the maximum pretrial settlement offer was less than $300,000.

Comprehensive negotiations could secure you a fair settlement as soon as possible. If a full trial is required because the other side refuses to agree to an adequate amount, our results show that our prep work may prompt the opposing counsel to settle at the last minute. They know that cases we build are strong, and that a judge or jury’s decision could demand they award you far more in compensation than the fair amount we first demand.

If you need proven legal representation after an offshore, oil rig, or maritime injury, contact our offices online or by calling (832) 690-7000. At every step of the way, we work solely towards your best interests and needs. Whatever your case requires, the lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek will prepare all that is necessary to see your case through to a successful result. 

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