What Factors Can Affect Your Offshore Accident Case?

Offshore accident cases can be complicated. You’ll need to determine who you can legally bring a claim against, how workers’ compensation affects your claim, how much insurance coverage is available, and in which jurisdiction you can bring your lawsuit. There are a variety of factors that can affect your case, especially when you are attempting to show negligence on the part of the employer, including the following:

  • The amount of risk taken. Working offshore and in oilfields is extremely high risk. The steps you may be required to take to get oil and gas out of the ground may not even be permitted in many other industries. But because of how lucrative the results can be when you hit pockets of oil or gas, you may feel pressured by your employer or other employees to engage in unsafe practices or take bigger risks to get your job done. These practices are often commonplace. However, in order to lessen the perception of their negligence, your employer may try to show that you didn’t have to engage in those high-risk behaviors.
  • Lack of oversight. There is often no engineering oversight on a rig, meaning equipment and structures are makeshift and assembled by people who learned from experience rather than official training. When you are doing things like drilling or running high-pressure fracking lines on the fly without technical guidance, accidents are bound to happen.
  • Insufficient training. Employees often use machinery on an oil rig without any training, which can result in injury. They may also be performing tasks that are way outside of their regular duties, such as acting as fire crew, which can put all other employees at risk as well.
  • Sleep deprivation. The average offshore worker works at least 12 hours a day for weeks on end — and is often woken up in the middle of the night to receive or unload a ship. Even when there’s a night crew, there may be a need for extra crew on deck. Because of the amount of profit that may be lost when there’s a delay, many employers want employees to go as fast and far as they can, which often means little sleep and more room for error.
  • How much insurance will pay out. Most oil companies are self-insured up to a point. After that, they have an insurance company pay out the rest. Insurance companies may try to adjust their portion of the claim or make sure the oil company attempts to settle the claim reasonably so they don’t have to pay out any money.

Oil companies often take shortcuts when it comes to operation of oil rigs because it can be less expensive than making sure employees are properly trained to do things the right way. While this may be the standard in the industry, it can lead to many preventable injuries.

How an Offshore Accident Lawyer Can Help

As a tactic to avoid paying out damages, it’s common for employers to deny that they are responsible for any injuries to their employees on an offshore rig or oilfield. Instead, they usually attempt to pass the buck onto their employees and claim that it was their actions alone that caused the offshore accident. They may claim that the employee had a right to speak out and stop the entire rig in its tracks if they saw something unsafe or needed more time to sleep. Some employers may even attempt to retaliate against employees who bring a suit by making it more difficult for them to find other jobs in the industry.

Because of all this, it can be difficult to decide if you want to pursue a lawsuit, especially if you fear that you’ll be blamed for the offshore accident or blacklisted from the industry. An offshore accident lawyer will help ensure that this doesn’t happen and that the facts of your injury are brought to the surface. A lawyer experienced in offshore accidents knows how to detect these types of tactics and make sure evidence doesn’t get skewed to fit the employer’s version of events. They can also help you round up witnesses to the offshore accident and get statements that show your side of the story.

Offshore accident attorneys are also intimately familiar with maritime law, which was created to help protect workers in the event of injuries, accidents, and illnesses. Maritime law only protects people who work offshore, and specific requirements must be met to recover in an action under the law. An experienced attorney will know how to make maritime law, and any other laws that apply, work in your favor.

What Factors Can Affect Your Offshore Accident Case?

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