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Dothan, Alabama Maritime Offshore Accident Attorney

Maritime Offshore Accidents

Working on the water is a way of life for many Alabama employees. Whether you work on the docks, a commercial vessel, an oil-drilling platform, or in another type of maritime operation, there are unique dangers that come with these occupations. Due to these risks, maritime workers who are hurt on the job are provided with additional protections that go beyond state workers’ compensation laws.

Understanding your rights after a maritime accident is critical in order to secure the compensation you are entitled to. Talk to an Alabama maritime offshore accident attorney at Gartlan Injury Law right away.

We’re available 24/7 if you need help. Call or contact us now for a free consultation.

What is the Jones Act?

There are various laws aimed at protecting maritime workers. The major federal law that covers offshore accidents is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. To qualify for benefits under the Jones Act, you must:

  • Spend at least 30 percent of your working hours at sea or on a vessel
  • Perform job duties that directly relate to the ship’s functions or to ensuring that it accomplishes its assigned tasks
  • Have been injured when the vessel was “in navigation,” meaning that it was afloat, capable of movement, in operation, and in navigable waters at the time of the accident

Who Qualifies Under the Jones Act?

You must be classified as a seaman to be covered under the Jones Act. That encompasses a wide variety of jobs, such as:

  • Sailors
  • Surveyors
  • Carpenters
  • Metalworkers
  • Coopers
  • Stewards
  • Cooks
  • Cabin and kitchen workers
  • Doctors
  • Engineers
  • Pilots
  • Firefighters
  • Deckhands
  • Oil rig workers

What Benefits Are Offered by the Jones Act?

The Jones Act requires maritime employers to provide “maintenance and cure” to employees who are hurt on the job, regardless of who is at fault. Maintenance is a benefit to cover the income that the worker would have received if he/she was still able to work. Cure is money given to the seaman to cover the costs of his/her medical care related to the injury.

Offshore workers with full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) performing maintenance.Unlike state workers’ compensation laws, the Jones Act also allows maritime workers to recover damages from their employers if it can be shown that the employer was negligent in some way. You can receive damages for lost wages, physical pain and mental anguish, living expenses while you recover from your injury, compensation for lost future earning capacity, present and future medical bills, and more.

What Common Injuries are Suffered by Offshore Workers?

Some of the most common injuries sustained by offshore workers include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed limbs
  • Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Lost limbs
  • Lung damage from inhaling smoke or chemical fumes

What are the Types of Maritime Accidents?

Examples of the most common types of accidents involving offshore workers include:

  • Slip and falls
  • Diving accidents
  • Vessel collisions
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Lift failures
  • Crane failures
  • Explosions

The steps you take after being injured in a maritime offshore accident are critical to protect your Jones Act claim. Before trying to pursue compensation on your own, reach out to Gartlan Injury Law for a free case review.

What Should I Do After an Offshore Accident?

Here’s what to do if you are injured in a maritime offshore accident:

  • Notify your employer: If you can do this yourself, great. If you’re too hurt to move, have another employee speak with your supervisor. Note the time and place of the accident, along with any other important details you can remember. Try not to move, especially if you feel any pain in your neck, back, or head.
  • Document the accident: Take pictures, get the names and contact information from anyone who saw the accident, and do whatever you can to preserve the scene as soon as possible. This documentation can be crucial if you pursue a negligence claim against your employer once the immediate danger of the accident has passed.
  • Seek immediate medical treatment: Timely medical treatment is essential for several reasons. First, it increases the likelihood of a full recovery. Seeing a doctor immediately is also a signal to the insurance company that you did everything you could to treat your injury and prevent it from becoming worse. It will also prevent insurers from claiming that other activities caused your injuries rather than the accident itself.
  • Speak with an offshore accident attorney: A maritime accident lawyer in Dothan will review your case and let you know what your legal options are. Should you decide to move forward with a negligence claim, your attorney can investigate the case and seek a full and fair settlement for you.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Offshore Accidents?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there could be various defendants in your legal case. Potentially liable parties in a Jones Act negligence claim include:

  • A commercial abseiler with fall arrestor device hanging on bridge pipeline structure.Your employer
  • Coworkers
  • A vessel’s owner or captain
  • A product or equipment manufacturer

The easiest way to determine if anyone can be held liable for your injuries is to speak with a trusted Alabama offshore accident attorney at Gartlan Injury Law right away.

What Evidence Needs to Be Gathered for a Maritime Accident Case?

Solid evidence is essential to support an offshore accident claim. Potential sources of evidence in a maritime accident case include:

  • Photos and video from the accident scene
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Witness statements
  • Physical evidence, such as broken machinery
  • Maintenance and inspection reports
  • Medical records, receipts, and bills
  • Expert testimony

It’s important that all available evidence is gathered as quickly as possible, as proof can be lost easily and witnesses’ memories fade over time. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible can improve your chances of gathering the best possible evidence for your claim.

Call a Maritime Offshore Accident Attorney Today

There’s a three-year statute of limitations on most injury claims under the Jones Act, but you shouldn’t wait that long to contact a Dothan maritime offshore injury attorney. If you’ve been injured in an offshore accident in Alabama, call Gartlan Injury Law today for a free consultation.

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