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Offshore Oil Rig Accident Lawyer

Offshore oil production rigs can be dangerous places to work

When an offshore oil rig worker is injured due to their employer’s negligence, that worker may be covered by various state and federal workers’ compensation laws, including the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and, possibly, the Jones Act. Offshore oil rig accident lawsuits can be very complex, but such lawsuits may be able to help an injured offshore oil rig worker to recover fair compensation for their injuries.

Offshore oil rig workers, and workers whose jobs are in support of offshore rig operations, are generally covered by both state and federal workers’ compensation programs.

The federal programs that have historically applied to offshore oil exploration and offshore oil production rigs are:

  • Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920)
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

As with any federal workers’ compensation program, these three programs are administered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, Determining which program is responsible for providing compensation when an offshore worker is injured can be a complex, and confusing, task. Fortunately, an attorney with experience in offshore oil exploration and oil production facilities injuries will often be able to determine which program applies to a given worker’s injury.

In addition to the workers’ compensation programs administered by each state, at least one of the previously-mentioned federal programs will usually apply to maritime and/or offshore workers.

  • Jones Act

The “Jones Act,” (aka the “Merchant Marine Act of 1920”), is the oldest of the maritime workers’ comp laws and was the first such law to apply specifically to seamen sailing aboard ships that comprised the Merchant Marine.

In most cases, offshore oil rig workers are not directly covered by the Jones Act since they are not classified as “seamen.” There are exceptions as to who is eligible for benefits under the Jones Act, in large part based on how the phrase “… and other duties as assigned …” that is practically always included within a worker’s job description is interpreted.

  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

LHWCA provides essentially the same type of workers’ compensation coverage to longshoremen and harbor workers that is provided under a state’s workers’ comp program. Enacted in the late 1920’s to provide medical care expenses and income support to longshore and harbor workers, it was later expanded by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to cover workers employed on offshore oil drilling platforms. Although it is not always the case, coverage by the LHWCA will be most often be applied to workers employed on fixed oil production facilities and offshore tanker offloading stations.

  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

OCSLA was enacted in 1953 as a federal law establishing the United States government’s title and jurisdiction over underwater lands lying three miles or more offshore from state’s land boundaries. Under OCSLA, offshore oil rig workers, roustabouts, and maintenance staff working on offshore drilling rigs are covered by the provisions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) if they are injured while working on an exploration or a production facility on the outer continental shelf.

Compensation for injuries sustained on offshore oil rigs

Although it is impossible to list every possible combination of injuries and benefits, two generalizations will usually apply to offshore injuries: 1) benefits will parallel those available from other state and federal compensation programs and 2) the cash and in-kind value of offshore injury benefits tend to be more generous than those administered by state agencies.

Finding an offshore oil rig accidental injury lawyer

Anyone who has filed a workers’ compensation claim will tell you that such claims can become a “paperwork nightmare” with little, if any, warning. These same workers are also among the first to recommend that any injured worker should hire an offshore oil rig accidental injury lawyer in order to protect an injured worker’s right to fair compensation.

At the Doan Law Firm, we have successfully represented clients with a variety of injuries in their workers’ compensation cases and are ready to assist you with your case. When you contact our workers’ compensation lawyer by calling our 24-hour workers’ comp help line at (800) 341-0000, you first consultation is always free and does not place you under any obligation to retain our firm to manage your case.

Should you decide that we should manage your offshore oil rig injury case, we are willing to assume responsibility for all financial expenses that may be required to prepare your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.

The Doan Law Firm 1 Riverway Suite 2500 Houston, Texas 77056 (832) 835-0000

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