Offshore Rig Injuries and the Jones Act

Many offshore rig workers who have been injured do not realize their legal right to compensation. If you have been injured on an oil rig, drill barge, semi-submersible or other vessel, your injury case will most likely be covered under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law.

Injuries that occur on a drill barge, oil rig, semi-submersible or other vessel tend to be serious and often require a lengthy recover. Some of the common injuries associated with oil rig accidents include:

  • Back injury
  • Neck injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Head injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones

There are many potential causes of rig accidents, including:

  • Equipment that malfunctions
  • Defective machinery
  • Explosions
  • Falling debris
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Vessel crashes
  • Slippery surfaces

The Jones Act allows injured maritime workers to pursue compensation for their offshore injuries. To be entitled to this compensation, known as maintenance and cure, you must be considered a seaman. By definition, a seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or someone who is assigned to a fleet of vessels for his employer. In most instances, an oil rig, jack up rig, drill barge and other types of rigs are considered to be vessels in navigation even though they do not move under their own power, as they still move from one location to the next.

Under the Jones Act, if your oil rig injury was caused by negligence of your employer or other responsible party, you may be able to file a Jones Act claim. A successful Jones Act case could entitle you to a higher amount of compensation than maintenance and cure. For example, damages available for Jones Act cases include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement and lost wages, both past and present.

If you were injured on a fixed platform, there are other laws such as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act that provide legal protection and allow you to recover compensation.

Speak to a Maritime Lawyer

Contact an experienced maritime accident attorney at our law firm to help you determine the appropriate course of action for your offshore rig accident case. We offer a free and confidential legal consultation. There are deadlines as to when you can file an offshore injury claim, so it is important that you take immediate action following your injury by contacting a maritime lawyer.