Offshore oil rigs are without question some of the most hazardous workplaces in the world. These environments have a wide range of inherent occupational hazards which often result in serious injuries or deaths. While disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010 are rare, the results are devastating. But it doesn’t take a full-scale disaster for oil rig workers to suffer serious injuries on the job. Every year, there are countless smaller oil rig accidents, injuries, and deaths that don’t make the headlines.
Oil rig operators, employers, and their employees are all aware of the risks of working on an oil rig. But operators and employers have continuously failed to take worker safety seriously. When an employee suffers a serious injury or fatal accident because of employer or operator negligence, these parties may be held financially liable in a Jones Act claim.
Which Rig Employees Are Covered?
In order to file a Jones Act claim against your employer or a rig operator, you must meet the Jones Acts’ definition of a “seaman”. This largely depends on the structure you work on. If your rig is floating and situated offshore, you would be eligible to file a claim. Workers on stationary oil rigs or in natural gas wells would not be covered by this Act, but would likely have the option to file a state-level workers’ compensation claim.
If you believe your accident could have been prevented if your employer had paid more attention to safety standards, you should consider meeting with a maritime injury lawyer to discuss your case. These claims often involve powerful oil and gas companies with experienced legal teams. Maritime law is an extremely complex practice, and these cases usually require the assistance of a specialist in this field.