Oil Rig Accidents
In Louisiana, we enjoy one of the largest and most successful oil and gas industries in the United States. Many Louisiana residents and Louisiana workers have, at one point, been employed in the oil and gas industry or have family members who have worked on platforms or rigs. Many of the rest of us enjoy the Louisiana coastal waterways and offshore and recreational activities including offshore fishing, inshore fishing and boating.
The Jones Act: Unlike nearly every other body of law, the Jones Act allows an injured worker to sue his employer for the employer’s or a co-worker’s negligence occurring during work. An employer has a duty to exercise care by providing a reasonably safe work environment, training about safety in the workplace, and providing adequate equipment. The Jones Act allows an injured worker to sue his employer for lost wages, mental and emotional anguish, and pain and suffering.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): A person injured as a result of negligence, may be entitled to sue the vessel’s owner for any negligence causing injury. This would provide you with a cause of action similar to the Jones Act in that you would be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future lost wages if you are injured as a result of negligence. The injured longshoremen would be able to recover these additional damages on top of the weekly benefits and medical benefits owed under the act. This provides the injured worker substantial recovery that would otherwise not be available under many bodies of law.
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA): Any person working on a fixed platform off of the coast of Louisiana would qualify as longshoremen, under operation of the OCSLA. This means that any person injured on one of these offshore platforms should qualify to receive the increased benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, rather than settling for state workers’ compensation. In addition, any person engaged in the loading or unloading of vessels, ship building, ship repair or ship servicing, should qualify as a longshoremen and harbor worker. If you are engaged in the maritime industry, in any capacity other than as a crew member aboard a vessel, you should contact Welborn & Hargett, to find out if you qualify for the increased workers’ compensation benefits.
Offshore or maritime litigation involves some of the most complicated laws that any attorney can handle. Many attorneys present themselves as “maritime attorneys,” when the truth is they have no idea how to handle a maritime case. The true sign of an “experienced” trial attorney is when you get referrals from other lawyers. At the Welborn & Hargett, we have enjoyed years of experience in the maritime and admiralty trade. This experience and knowledge of the various bodies of law, and their intra-play with Louisiana state regulations, provide us with a unique understanding of the recovery available to the injured person and their family.