Maritime Accidents

Maritime Law Overview


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Oil Rig Injuries

America is dependent on oil. Many Americans count on oil to heat their homes and run their motor vehicles. However, getting oil can be dangerous work. In fact, the oil and gas extraction industry has an annual occupational fatality rate that is seven times greater than the rate for all American workers.

Oil rig work is difficult and requires the experience of professional workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognizes there is a significant increase in fatalities when there is an increase in oil drilling and work over rigs. The agency hypothesizes that the increased fatalities are due to the fact that the increased production requires more workers who lack the necessary experience, that all available rigs are used and some of them are old and do not have the required safety equipment and that the workers are putting in more overtime hours and are therefore tired. In fact, according to NIOSH, many workers work for 8-12 hour shifts for 7-14 consecutive days and live at nearby camps during their off hours. It is that the strain from that work schedule is a contributing factor to the dangerousness of the industry.

Offshore Oil Rig Accidents

Offshore oil rig accidents are covered by federal maritime law. One maritime law that might apply to offshore oil rig workers is the Jones Act. The Jones Act allows offshore oil rig workers (and other seamen) to sue their employers or the owners of the oil rig for negligence. However, in order for the Jones Act to apply the worker must be considered a seaman who is working on a vessel. If an offshore oil rig worker dies as a result of an oil rig accident then his or her family may also be able to recover damages.

A stationary oil rig that is not seaworthy may not be considered a vessel under the Jones Act. However, a worker could still be entitled to damages if he or she is hurt on the job. Those damages might come from state negligence or workers compensation laws.

The problem of injuries to oil workers is not going away. In fact, injuries to workers in the oil and gas extraction industry increased by 44% between 2003 - 2006. While politicians and the media talk about reducing this country's reliance on foreign oil, there is likely to be a continued demand on domestic oil workers until alternative fuel sources are developed and widely used.

Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

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Defense Base Act
The Frequently Asked Questions

Our Maritime Injury Lawyer answers the 29 most common Defense Base Act Questions. Continue ...

Injured seaman must file a claim within three years of the injury. More on Employees Rights...