Workers and other individuals on offshore platforms, rigs, ships, tankers, boats, barges, and other vessels work in some of the most hazardous conditions. Despite safety efforts, offshore accidents are an all-too-frequent occurrence off the coast of Houston and throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
If you have been the victim of an offshore accident, you deserve compensation from those responsible for your accident or who bear legal liability for the injury. You should be provided with the financial resources you need because of your injuries.
For more than 25 years, the Houston offshore accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm have worked hard to protect the legal rights and interests of accident victims from Houston and throughout Texas who were injured offshore.
We know how much of an uphill battle injured accident victims face when they try to get compensation from big corporations and insurance companies. We have seen first-hand the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying injured victims the money they justly deserve. Our firm works just as hard to ensure you get the financial benefits you need to treat your injuries, pay your bills, and support your family.
At The Callahan Law Firm, our offshore accident attorneys work tirelessly to get you back to your regular life. As a boutique firm that takes on a limited number of cases at a time, our offshore injury attorneys can provide you and your case with the personalized attention and effort you deserve.
Our attorneys also bring extensive legal knowledge and experience to each case we handle. Our legal team has backgrounds in the insurance industry and engineering fields, and they can handle even the most complex offshore accident cases.
Contact The Callahan Law Firm today to schedule a free initial case evaluation with a Houston offshore accident lawyer. You can discuss the details of your case and learn how our firm can help you maximize your compensation. Do not hesitate to call us today or reach out online.
Common Types of Offshore Accidents
Working on offshore platforms and vessels can often be incredibly dangerous. Common offshore accidents near Houston and in the Gulf of Mexico include:
- Offshore oil rig accidents – Offshore oil rigs can become incredibly dangerous places, as machinery and equipment accidents, fires, explosions, or toxic spills can leave rig workers trapped with little or no opportunity to escape.
- Offshore drilling accidents – Offshore drilling is considered one of the most dangerous U.S. industries. Many companies in Houston that are involved in offshore drilling may not prioritize safety in a way necessary to ensure their workers remain safe while working on an offshore rig.
- Fires and explosions – Fires and explosions are among the most catastrophic types of offshore accidents. They may be caused by poorly maintained equipment, improperly stored fuel or flammable substances, and collisions between vessels.
- Equipment failure – Broken or malfunctioning equipment poses an extreme hazard to workers, who can be burned, electrocuted, or mutilated by those failures.
- Falls from heights – Offshore rigs and vessels have high and exposed places that workers must regularly access. In poor weather conditions and without proper safety equipment, workers face a significant risk of injury in falls from great heights.
- Dropped objects – Heavy objects and materials, especially when suspended from heights, can cause head trauma and crush injuries when they are dropped or fall on an offshore worker.
- Crushed by equipment – Workers can suffer crush injuries when they get caught in machinery or are crushed by vehicles such as forklifts or boats.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals – Offshore rigs and vessels, particularly those involved in the oil and gas industry, are loaded with numerous toxic chemicals and substances. When these substances are not properly stored or transported – and when workers are not given the proper protective equipment – exposure can cause debilitating or even fatal diseases and other medical conditions.
- Helicopter crashes – Helicopters are frequently used to transport people to and from offshore platforms and vessels. Crashes represent a real risk due to causes such as pilot error, improper maintenance, design or manufacturing defects, and poor weather or sea conditions.
- Barge and tugboat injuries – Individuals can suffer injuries from barges and tugboats due to fires and explosions, electrocution injuries, or crush injuries when accidents occur during transport, while embarking on or disembarking from other vessels.
Common Injuries Caused by Offshore Accidents
Offshore platforms rank among the most dangerous worksites for workers from Houston, Texas and across the country. Nearly any type of injury can be suffered by workers and visitors to offshore sites and platforms.
Common injuries suffered in offshore accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Electrocution injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Crush injuries
- Exposure to infectious or toxic chemicals and substances
How to Protect Your Rights after an Offshore Accident
After being involved in an offshore accident, these steps can help protect your legal rights and options for pursuing financial compensation for your injuries.
- Report your accident and injuries. When you are injured, notify your employer or the owner-operator of the platform, rig, or vessel where your accident occurred. Supervisors or other personnel should complete an investigation and fill out an accident report. Obtain a copy of this report.
- Get contact and insurance information from your employer and the offshore site owner-operator. This will assist you and your Houston offshore accident attorney in contacting in the investigation and pursuit of your claim for injuries.
- Take down statements or contact information for any eyewitnesses to the accident. Eyewitnesses can provide critical evidence for an offshore accident claim. If eyewitnesses to your accident do not immediately provide you with a written statement of what they saw, determine whether you need eyewitness statements and obtain them as soon as possible, as memories can fade over time.
- Document the accident scene. If possible and safe to do so, take photographs or video of the accident scene, including whatever may have caused your injuries, the safety measures in place, the lighting, weather, and visual conditions at the accident scene, and any visible injuries you may have suffered. If your accident was caught on surveillance video, ensure that a copy of that footage is preserved.
- Schedule a physical exam with a doctor. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, submit to a physical exam by a doctor. It may take days or even weeks for you to begin feeling noticeable pain or other symptoms of injury. A doctor may be able to diagnose the injuries you suffered and allow you to conclusively tie them to your offshore accident. However, be careful not to rely on any assessment from a doctor you have been sent to by your employer or their insurance company. Too often these doctors don’t have your best interest at heart and are on the side of your employer or their insurance company. It is often best to see a doctor not affiliated with your employer or their insurance company to make sure you get an honest assessment of your injury.
- Talk to a Houston offshore accident lawyer at The Callahan Law Firm. We can help you understand your legal rights and options following your accident. We can also guide you through the process of seeking financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
Compensation for Your Offshore Accident Injuries
If you have been injured in an offshore accident, you may be entitled to compensation benefits from your employer under the Jones Act or the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Those benefits will depend on the circumstances of your employment and the location where the injury happened.
Federal workers’ compensation statutes ensure that workers in the maritime industry receive compensation for damages, including:
- Costs of medical care to treat work-related injuries and illnesses caused by your offshore accident
- Lost wages for the time you miss from work while recovering from injuries or illness
- Living costs during recovery
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Mental anguish, physical pain and disfigurement
- Vocational rehabilitation, if you are disabled from your old job but capable of working in other employment
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may also be entitled to file a personal injury claim against a person or entity whose negligence, recklessness, or other legal fault led to your injuries. In a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Past, ongoing, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life
- Loss of consortium, which compensates your spouse for the loss of your spousal companionship and society due to your injuries
Let our Houston offshore accident attorneys review your case and advise you as to the types of compensation you may be entitled to receive.
How Long Do You Have in Texas to Pursue a Claim After an Offshore Accident?
If you file a lawsuit against your employer under the Jones Act for injuries you suffered in an offshore accident, you generally have three years from the date of your injury to bring your claims.
You can only bring a Jones Act claim if your employer bears responsibility for your offshore accident and injuries. However, some offshore accidents have other causes, such as defective equipment, machinery, or materials on an offshore site or rig. In those cases, you may be entitled to bring a product liability claim under Texas law. Under Texas’s statute of limitations law for product liability lawsuits, you have two years from the date of your injury or the date that you discovered your injury (or should have reasonably discovered your injury) from a defective or dangerous product. Similarly, if a third party’s negligence caused your offshore accident and injuries, you also have two years from the date of your accident under Texas’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
If you fail to file your lawsuit before the applicable deadline passes, the court will almost certainly permanently dismiss your lawsuit. That means you will lose your opportunity to pursue financial compensation in court from those responsible for your injuries.
How a Houston Offshore Accident Attorney Can Help You
Pursuing a claim for compensation for injuries suffered in an offshore accident can be incredibly complex. You may find it difficult to determine who bears legal liability for your injuries or how to make a claim for financial compensation from those parties.
At The Callahan Law Firm, our Houston offshore accident attorneys strive to make the claims process as easy and simple for you as possible. Our firm helps you recover the money you need by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident and preserving critical evidence we can use for your case including accident reports, eyewitness statements, scene photos and surveillance footage.
- Working with accident reconstruction and engineering experts when necessary to determine how your accident happened and to identify who was responsible for the accident.
- Identifying liable parties and sources of compensation (such as layered corporate liability insurance policies).
- Filing claims for compensation on your behalf and aggressively pursuing full and fair compensation.
- Preparing your claim to be filed as a lawsuit in court, if necessary, and vigorously advocating your case at trial.
Our attorneys will take on the hard work of pursuing your claim while you can focus your time and energy on your physical and emotional recovery. We strive to always be available to you in person, by phone, by video call, by email, or by text to answer any questions you may have. We also will keep you updated on the status of your case.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Houston offshore accident lawyer from The Callahan Law Firm today to learn more about your legal options. Call us today or fill out an online contact form. When you hire The Callahan Law Firm to represent you in your Houston offshore accident case or in any other offshore accident case, you owe no fees unless you win.