By the very nature of their work, seamen, longshoremen, and offshore oil & gas workers are exposed to many conditions and substances which cause them serious illnesses and injury and even death. Sometimes an illness will manifest itself years after exposure to toxic substances. Unfortunately, some offshore companies and their insurers treat injured workers unfairly - often putting pressure on workers not to seek legal assistance to obtain all remedies to which they are legally entitled. Maritime torts are unique because of the application of uniform federal maritime law. Read more about maritime torts.
Jones Act / Seaman's Injuries
The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides a cause of action for injured seamen. It is not workers' compensation. It does not require payment regardless of fault. A seaman must prove negligence or fault on the part of the vessel's owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or by reason of any defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment, i.e., unseaworthiness of the vessel. This means that the employer must do something unreasonable or fail to perform a reasonable act that would have prevented injury in order for the seaman to prevail. Only a seaman can recover under the Jones Act. A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or someone who assigned to a vessel or a fleet of vessels. For example, those who work on tankers, freighters, tugs, supply and crew boats, barges, and fishing vessels as a member of the crew are considered seamen. Read more about who is a seaman.
Longshoremen / 3rd Party Claims
The Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides for the payment of compensation benefits for disability or death of an employee falling within the statute, if the disability or death results from an injury occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States. An adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing or building a vessel are considered "navigable waters" under the statute. Read more about the LHWCA.
Rig & Platform Injuries
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) is a federal statute that provides for compensation for death or injuries "occurring as the result of operations conducted on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for the purpose of exploring for, developing, removing, or transporting by pipeline the natural resources, or involving rights to the natural resources, of the subsoil and seabed of the OCS." The OCS encompasses all submerged lands beyond state territorial waters but within U.S. territorial waters. The definition includes artificial islands and fixed structures upon the OCS, i.e., fixed oil drilling platforms. Injuries occurring on fixed oil platforms within state territorial waters are generally governed by state law.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Case
The Steinberg Law Firm investigates offshore injury claims. Please contact us for a free legal consultation.
Please e-mail Andrew E. Steinberg* at: firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your case here. Or call us at 713-529-0025.
*Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.