Many workers in Louisiana, Texas, and all over the Gulf Coast have made a career working in the offshore oil and gas business. People work for oil and gas service companies, drilling contractors, exploration and production companies, and offshore construction companies.
One thing that they all have in common is the need to perform work on offshore oil and gas platforms. This much work on platforms, especially given the heavy equipment involved, creates the potential for serious injuries.
For those men and women who work offshore, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about offshore platform injuries:
Which Law Applies to Offshore Platform Injuries?
Platforms are treated as land under maritime law, which makes the law applicable to them different from the law that would apply to an injury on a vessel. Generally speaking, state law will control cases involving offshore platform injuries, unless there is some applicable federal law. However, it is possible that an injured platform worker could qualify for seaman status and be protected by the Jones Act and other maritime laws.
Determining which law should apply to an offshore platform injury (such as the Death on the High Seas Act, for example) can be difficult. It is important that you talk to a maritime lawyer about it because if state law applies, you might have a shorter amount of time to bring a claim.
Is the Platform Owner/Operator Responsible for Offshore Platform Injuries?
Maybe. Work on offshore platforms (such as maintenance or drilling) is often done by contractors hired by the oil company that operates the platform. This can be a problem for the victims of offshore platform injuries because companies usually aren’t responsible for what their independent contractors do. But, if an oil company controls the details or what its contractors are doing or allows them to do things that aren’t safe, it may be responsible for injuries suffered by offshore workers.
Which Workers’ Compensation Laws Apply to Platform Injuries?
Figuring out which workers’ compensation laws apply to an offshore platform injury depends on two things: (1) is the injured worker a seaman and (2) where is the platform located. Injured platform workers who qualify as seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure from their employers.
For non-seamen, the main question is the location of the platform where the injury happened. If the offshore platform injury occurred on the Outer Continental Shelf or if the worker was engaged in longshoring operations, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may provide coverage. Otherwise, state workers’ compensation laws should cover on-the-job injuries.
Louisiana Platform Injury Lawyer
Offshore platform injuries and other maritime injuries can change your life forever. If you’ve been hurt in an accident while working offshore, The Mahone Firm is here to help you through this tough time. Call (504) 564-7342 for a free and confidential case evaluation with a New Orleans personal injury attorney.