Question

Do I need a Louisiana attorney if I'm hurt working offshore?

Joseph F. Gaar, Jr.

Answered by:
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr.

Located in Lafayette, LA
The Gaar Law Firm

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Answer

If you are hurt working offshore, either on an oil platform, jack up drilling rig, crew boat, barge, or other type of specialty vessel or structure, the laws of Louisiana and the United States will affect you differently than if you are hurt on land.

Some differences are that a "Jones Act" seaman can file a lawsuit against his or her employer to achieve a greater recovery of damages than, say, a worker who is hurt doing the same or a similar job on land. Workers who are "permanently assigned" to a "vessel" may be Jones Act seaman. Another difference is that a seaman can recover for the negligence of a co-worker, whereas other injured workers cannot, and their only remedy will be workers' compensation.

The courts have also interpreted what constitutes a "vessel" differently as well. Workers hurt on a fixed platform may be entitled to federal workers' compensation, which pays more than state workers' compensation. However, these workers cannot sue a co-worker for his or her negligence.

The laws, as they relate to workers injured offshore, are very complicated. Most attorneys do not handle these types of cases on a regular basis because they are unfamiliar with the laws relating to offshore injuries. That is why it is extremely important to contact an attorney who specializes in offshore accidents. Our office handles a large number of maritime and offshore cases, and we regularly file and try these types of cases in Federal and State Court. So if you have been injured in the Gulf of Mexico or on the water, either on a vessel, barge, platform, dock or working offshore, please contact our office for professional advice on what to do.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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