Drowning accidents are unfortunately common in many areas. They can occur in private homes and swimming pools, at the beach, and even many miles off the coast on offshore rigs and boats. These offshore rigs and boats are usually used to drill for oil or to maintain waypoints for the Navy and cargo ships or transport ships. It can be extremely dangerous to work on these rigs, and the standards for protecting the seamen aboard are very strict. However, not all owners and operators adhere to those standards, and as a result, seamen may drown in various accidents. If a loved one has suffered a drowning incident while working on an offshore rig, it is imperative that you pursue ample compensation for your losses. Our team of offshore rig drowning lawyers at the Downtown LA Law Group in California will be able to handle your case for you from start to finish.
Maritime Law – The Jones Act
Because offshore rigs are a certain number of miles off the coast of the continental United States, it is not uncommon to see certain rules be routinely broken and laws not get upheld. The Jones Act is a section of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It specifically outlines sailors’ rights and what they can do in times of injury.
Notably, it requires that all operators of the ship keep the ship hazard-free. There should be no risks present with the ship outside of the necessary conditions themselves. The employer or owner of the ship must be shown to be partly responsible for the incident in which the seaman got injured. In this way, it is similar to basic worker’s compensation laws.
Dangers of Offshore Rigs
Offshore oil rigs are located many miles out to sea and are usually solitary ships. The seamen on board must conduct various duties, from lowering vessels into the water, to marking barrels, to repairing sections of the ship. They must work on these ships throughout the day and night, sometimes without necessary equipment due to losses. Some of the risks present on these offshore rigs include the following:
- Slippery floors, ladders, and surfaces from excessive oil, ocean water, and more
- Falls from different decks, loose railings, and more
- Chemical fires, explosions, noxious fumes, and more
- Gales, storms, tempests, and other weather occurrences
All of these hazards can be fatal if they result in someone falling off the rig and into the ocean. Some waves are too dangerous to enter without risking further loss of life. A tragedy can happen if a worker is knocked unconscious and falls into the ocean – he will be unable to swim or make it to the surface, and he will likely drown.
It is important that the owner of the ship has the ship properly fitted for protection. Rails should not be too low that anyone can slip over them, and they should be constantly maintained, affixed, and tightened. All surfaces should be attended to so there is not excess moisture or other ways for seamen to slip. If there are hazards present, they should be addressed.
In the event that a loved one drowns due to an incident aboard an offshore rig or offshore oil tanker, you should pursue adequate compensation on his or her behalf.
How to File an Offshore Rig Drowning Claim
To sue the owner or operator of an offshore rig due to a loved one drowning, you will need ample evidence on your side. This evidence will be very hard to collect due to you not being physically present on the boat. A lot of it will come secondhand, and to make matters worse, it may be lost or purposely damaged or thrown away to avoid liability. You should follow these steps to ensure that your case has sufficient evidence:
Get any physical proof you can of any problems with the offshore rig. You may need pictures of faulty railings, video footage of the unsecured ladder, potholes or cracks in the floor of the boat, and much more. This can be sent to you by other workers or by those aboard the boat.
If anyone saw the incident occur, you could ask them for their statements and testimonies. Eyewitness perspectives will greatly benefit your claim.
You should have proof of lost income, inheritance, pension, and more from the deceased person if you are pursuing certain restitution.
For more assistance, you should pursue assistance from an expert offshore rig drowning lawyer in Los Angeles. We will hire expert witnesses and acquire the most relevant and crucial proof for your claim. You may be involved in the grieving process – let us handle the legal issues while you focus on what’s important to you.
Compensation from an Offshore Rig Drowning Lawsuit
In the event a family member or loved one passed away in an offshore rig drowning incident, you should be fairly compensated for the loss. It is recommended that yo reach out to an attorney to help you with your claim. The insurance agent who handles the case will come up with the offer; he may make a low offer at first to deter you from seeking more money or to pressure you into accepting the first thing possible. It is wise to not accept this initial offer and to negotiate a fair deal.
Although normal personal injury lawsuits can result in coverage form medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering, it is less likely for you to receive these same types of damages in a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawsuits generally result in the following:
- Pre-death medical bills if the deceased was treated or taken to a medical center
- Pre-death pain and suffering to cover the anxiety, fear, and other traumatic mental stresses the deceased had
- Loss of expected income if you were in a dual-income household or if you were not the sole caretaker in your household
- Loss of savings and inheritance if you were included in the deceased person’s will
- Loss of relations and consortium if you were wed to the deceased individual
Funeral and burial fees to cover expenses like the gravestone, cemetery plot, procession, cremation, casket, urn, and more
Our team of offshore rig drowning lawyers will fight around the clock to ensure that your case is fully realized and that you receive every dime available for your loss. Our attorneys know how difficult it can be to cope with such a tragedy, and we do not want you to worry about the extra issues that will arise. Let us strive to have your monetary worries covered – you have enough on your plate already.
Statute of Limitations on Offshore Rig Drowning Claims
Wrongful death claims and drowning lawsuits have the same statute of limitations as any personal injury lawsuit does in California – 2 years from the date of the occurrence. If you do not sue within that time period, you will be unable to collect compensation in the future. It is important that you do not hesitate to take legal action; the longer you wait, the more likely it is that evidence will get corrupted or will become lost, or that individuals will forget and their memories and testimonies will be less accurate.
It is possible in some scenarios for the statute of limitations to be extended. In offshore rig drowning lawsuits, the most common reason for the extension of the statute of limitations is due to the presence and location of the defendant. You cannot sue if the defendant is not present in California – as long as he is absent, the statute of limitations will be suspended. Once he returns, the deadline will begin to count down.
Too often, individuals fail to file claims on time. They may simply not know how long the statute of limitations is for the case. If you contact us, we will ensure that your lawsuit is filed on time and that you do not miss any important dates.
Our Firm and You
The Downtown LA Law Group is an empathetic law firm that understands how difficult it can be to move through the grieving process. Loss is not easy no matter who you are, and it can be compounded by the additional issues that rise up. Debt, expenses, and wrongdoing can complicate matters. Our offshore rig drowning lawyers will aggressively fight for every penny you deserve. We will go to court if we must to uphold the rights of your lost family member or loved one.
Call us today for a free legal consultation on your claim. We will answer any questions you have and walk you through the legal process to ensure you understand what will happen and what your claim may be worth. If you want to hire us for our services, we will also give you our zero fee guarantee. This says that you will not have to pay us a dime from the beginning of the case to the end. We will only collect our fees if we win, and the money will be taken from the settlement we bring you. If we lose, we get paid nothing whatsoever.
If a loved one drowned in an offshore rig accident, call our expert lawyers today at the Downtown LA Law Group.