Offshore workers are often faced with dangerous conditions daily. These conditions put them at risk for severe or life-threatening injuries, or even worse, death. Some of these injuries can have dire and permanent consequences on a person’s health. Offshore accidents are governed by a different set of laws and rules than accidents on the mainland. Additionally, standard workers’ compensation doesn’t cover offshore employees. Instead, offshore employees are covered by the Jones Act. This act provides the equivalent of worker’s compensation for offshore employees. If you work offshore, it’s vital to have at least a primary understanding of your rights under the Jones Act when seeking compensation. This guide covers a step-by-step guide of what you need when seeking compensation as an offshore worker.
1. Seek Legal Representation
Ideally, injuries that happen on navigable waters fall under the jurisdiction of federal law. However, it can also be categorized under state law, though in rare cases, and a fifo perth attorney can explain your rights under the law and help you determine whether your case has solid grounds for it. A lawyer will also explain whether you can receive compensation because of employer negligence. These cases are usually complex and complicated, and they require qualified professionals to handle them. At first, you might be tempted to take the issue on your own, but often, this is not an area you want to navigate alone. Leave the professionals to handle it.
2. Take Photos (and Notes if Applicable)
If you can, record notes about what happened in your accident. With time, you may forget the vital elements of the event. Writing the events down is a great way to capture the details for future use. Additionally, remember to take pictures of workplace hazards or damaged equipment as evidence. This information is critical in providing substantial evidence for your case. Your attorney will also require such data when you file a lawsuit.
3. Fill Illness/Injury Reports
This is a critical area that many offshore workers neglect doing. If applicable, the company representative should meet with the employee to complete illness/injury reports. Some employers will have the affected employee complete the full report. However, other employers may require an employee’s assistance in completing the report. Ideally, the report usually includes the following details: date of injury, the location where it occurred, detailed description of illness/injury, the date when the employer was notified of the injury/illness, and other applicable information. If you suffered an injury and are given the form to complete, the company representative will provide you with a deadline to complete it. Filling the papers will be instrumental in your claim.
4. Your Rights Against Different Parties Other than Your Employer
In some cases, your injury may have been caused by the negligence of other parties. Even though this depends on the circumstances, this other third-party may be a defective piece of equipment from another entity. If you’re injured at work because of another party’s negligence, you may have the right to bring a claim against that other party or entity. Ideally, these are known as “third-party claims.” These claims are not filed in the worker’s compensation domain. You will need to work with an attorney when filing the lawsuit in state or federal courts.
5. You Need to Seek Medical Care
Before anything else, your injuries/illness needs to be addressed. Remember: refrain from trying to tough it up. Even if you suspect a slight sprain, make time to see a physician immediately. Doing this helps as you can avoid any future health conditions resulting from your injury/illness. Severe injuries like internal bleeding and concussions can be challenging to assess without a medical test.
6. Breach of Duty by an Employer
There are various duties that employers owe to their workers. Some of them include providing a safe and secure workplace, ensuring all employees receive sufficient instruction and training, and a duty to provide protective equipment and clothing. Additionally, an employer should evaluate the risk of injury from using some equipment and lifting heavy machinery. Since offshore activities involve heavy machinery, an employer should provide employees with the appropriate safety equipment and training. A claim can arise if an employee is injured because the employer failed to comply with workplace requirements. You will need to work with an attorney to prove that an employer is to blame for your issues.
If you’re injured while working on a barge, oil rig, or another vessel involved in offshore drilling operations, ensure you take the appropriate steps to file for a claim. You may qualify for more compensation than your insurance company or employer is telling you. With the help of a skilled lawyer, you can ensure you’re getting compensated for what you’re owed.
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