Offshore injuries can be severely damaging for a victim. Victims often face long recovery periods, financial burdens from medical bills and lost wages, and significant emotional and physical stress.

The isolation of these environments can complicate access to medical care, exacerbating the impact of injuries.

It’s essential for victims to know that they have legal options for compensation. An offshore injury lawyer can assist victims throughout the legal process, aiming to get them the right compensation under the law.

In the following article, we’ll go over how offshore accidents happen, legal options for victims, potential financial compensation, and how a lawyer can help in these types of cases.

Offshore Injury Lawyer

The attorneys at BoatLaw, LLP (formerly Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski) have decades of experience representing clients throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska with their maritime claims. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about maritime and admiralty law and the Jones Act and how these regulations apply to offshore workers and their injuries.

If you or a loved one have been injured, contact the maritime offshore injury lawyers at BoatLaw, LLP for a free evaluation of your claim. Our attorneys may be able to get you compensation for your injuries and help you navigate through this process as smoothly as possible.

Call BoatLaw, LLP at 1-800-262-8529 today.

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About Offshore Areas

An offshore area refers to a region located in the sea, away from the coast. This area can vary in distance from the shore, ranging from a few to several hundred miles. Offshore areas are significant for many activities, including oil and gas exploration and production, wind farms for renewable energy, and deep-sea fishing. These regions are often characterized by their marine ecosystems, deep waters, and the presence of underwater structures like coral reefs and ocean ridges.


The waters off the coast of Alaska, particularly the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, are among the richest fishing grounds in the world. Offshore workers in this region are primarily involved in the fishing industry, harvesting a wide variety of seafood, including salmon, crab, pollock, and halibut. The challenging and often harsh conditions in the Alaskan waters demand a high level of skill from the workers.


Offshore workers in Oregon are involved in several maritime activities, including fishing, shipping, and marine research. The Dungeness crab fishery is a significant industry, and the state’s ports play a big role in international trade. Additionally, there is growing interest in developing offshore wind energy projects off the Oregon coast.


California’s offshore areas are known for their oil and gas production, particularly in the Santa Barbara Channel and the San Pedro Basin. Offshore workers in this region are involved in drilling, maintenance, and environmental management. The state is also exploring the potential for offshore renewable energy, like wind and wave power.

Washington State

The waters off Washington State see a lot of activity, from commercial fishing and shellfish aquaculture to maritime trade and shipbuilding. Offshore workers in Washington contribute to the state’s economy through industries like salmon fishing, oyster farming, and cargo transportation. The Puget Sound region is a major hub for maritime and naval operations.

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Types of Offshore Injuries

Offshore injuries include a wide range of physical harm that can occur in maritime environments. One common type is slips, trips, and falls, which can lead to fractures, head injuries, or even more severe outcomes like spinal cord injuries. Workers can also suffer from exposure to hazardous substances, leading to chemical burns, respiratory issues, or poisoning.

Fires and explosions on offshore platforms or vessels can cause burns, lacerations, and traumatic injuries. Equipment-related injuries are also common, with workers getting caught in or struck by machinery, leading to amputations, crush injuries, or fatal accidents. Additionally, the risk of drowning or near-drowning incidents is significant in offshore environments, especially during rough sea conditions or vessel accidents.

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Causes of Offshore Injuries

Human error plays a significant role in causing injury, with factors like lack of training, fatigue, and miscommunication leading to accidents. Mechanical failures or improper maintenance of equipment can also be a major cause, resulting in malfunctions or breakdowns that lead to injury.

Harsh weather conditions, like high winds, heavy rain, or rough seas, can exacerbate the risk of injury by making working conditions more dangerous. Poor safety guidelines or non-compliance with regulations can create hazardous working conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Finally, collisions or accidents involving vessels, offshore platforms, or other structures can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

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Common Types of Victims in Offshore Injury Cases

Victims of offshore injuries are primarily workers in the maritime industry. This includes seamen who work on ships, fishermen who face the dangers of the sea, and oil rig workers who operate in challenging offshore environments. Additionally, individuals involved in the shipping and transportation sector, like cargo handlers and dockworkers, can also fall victim to offshore injuries.

Contractors and subcontractors working on offshore construction or maintenance projects are also at risk. In some cases, passengers on commercial vessels, cruise ships, or offshore installations may suffer injuries because of accidents or unsafe conditions.

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Potential Liable Parties for Offshore Accidents

The employer is often held liable for accidents, as they are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment for their employees. This includes proper training, maintenance of equipment, and compliance with safety protocols. If these responsibilities are neglected, the employer could be liable for injuries that occur as a result. The owner of the vessel or offshore facility might also be held liable, particularly if the injury was caused by unseaworthy conditions.

Additionally, manufacturers of equipment used offshore could be liable if an injury was caused by defective products. This includes anything from faulty machinery to unsafe personal protective equipment. Contractors and third party vendors who fail to follow safety regulations or act negligently could also be responsible for injuries.

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Legal Options for an Offshore Injury Victim

When a victim files a lawsuit for an offshore injury, negligence and unseaworthiness claims are common. Negligence claims under the Jones Act are centered around the idea that the employer did not exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injuries.

This includes a range of potential failures, such as:

  • Not providing adequate training to employees
  • Failing to maintain equipment in safe working order, or
  • Not implementing proper safety measures.

For example, the eployer could be considered negligent if:

  • A worker is injured because they were not given the correct safety gear,
  • or if the equipment they were using was poorly maintained.

Unseaworthiness claims focus on the condition of the vessel itself. A vessel is considered unseaworthy if it is not reasonably fit for its intended use.

These qualifications can include:

  • Structural defects
  • Lack of necessary equipment, or
  • An insufficient or inadequately trained crew.

The standard for unseaworthiness does not require the vessel to be in immediate danger of sinking; even minor deficiencies that could lead to injury may make a vessel unseaworthy.

Victims can also file injury lawsuits against parties other than their employer or the ship owner. This could include third-party contractors, equipment manufacturers, or other entities that contributed to the unsafe conditions leading to the injury. These cases often revolve around negligence or product liability claims, focusing on the duty of these third parties to ensure their actions or products do not cause harm.

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Potential Damages in Offshore Injury Cases

Damages in Jones Act claims cover different kinds of harm caused by negligence or if the ship wasn’t safe to work on. This can mean paying for medical bills or lost wages if the worker can’t earn money like before. It could also mean money for pain and suffering, and even costs for future care or lost earning ability. There’s also maintenance and cure, which means the ship owner must cover daily living expenses and medical costs until the worker is as healed as possible.

If the injury is so severe that the worker dies, their family can make a claim under the Jones Act for wrongful death. This could include funeral expenses, lost financial support, and other related costs.

In lawsuits against other parties, such as the manufacturer of faulty equipment or another company working on the same ship or offshore platform, damages can cover medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, depending on the situation.

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Steps to Take After an Accident

  1. Seek Medical Attention: First and foremost, attend to any injuries by getting medical help immediately.
  2. Report the Accident: Notify your supervisor or the shipowner about the accident as soon as you can.
  3. Document the Scene: Take the time to document the accident scene and collect contact information from any witnesses.
  4. Keep Medical Records: Preserve all medical records and receipts connected to the injury. These documents are crucial for any potential legal claims.

For those pursuing claims for negligence under the Jones Act or unseaworthiness in maritime situations, a three-year limit from the injury date applies. Missing this deadline may prevent them from claiming compensation.

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Role of an Offshore Accident Lawyer

An offshore accident lawyer plays an important role in helping victims manage the legal process and obtain fair compensation. They can evaluate the case, determine the applicable laws, and identify potential liable parties. The lawyer can gather evidence to support the victim’s claims, including medical records, accident reports, and witness statements.

They can also negotiate with insurance companies and employers on behalf of the victim to reach a settlement. If necessary, an offshore injury lawyer can represent the victim in court, advocating for their rights and presenting their case to a judge or jury.

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Additional Resources

Offshore Incident Statistics
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) provides statistics on incidents that occur offshore. This data helps in understanding events like injuries, fires, explosions, and spills. By analyzing these incidents, BSEE tries to identify trends and causes, leading to actions that improve safety and environmental protection. The statistics include yearly summaries and are good for stakeholders to assess offshore safety and environmental performance.

Offshore Incident Investigations
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is responsible for investigating significant incidents like deaths, serious injuries, fires, and pollution events related to offshore oil and gas operations. These investigations aim to uncover the causes of incidents to prevent their recurrence. BSEE publishes reports on their findings, providing insights and recommendations to improve offshore safety. These documents are important for operators to understand potential hazards and implement measures to mitigate risks.

The World’s Worst Offshore Oil Rig Disasters
Offshore Technology offers an overview of the deadliest offshore oil rig disasters, highlighting the harsh conditions and risks faced in offshore operations. The article provides valuable lessons from past accidents, emphasizing the need for continuous improvement in safety practices and emergency response to prevent future tragedies and protect lives in the challenging offshore environment.

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Hire an Offshore Injury Lawyer

If you have offshore injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. These injuries can be debilitating, can take time and money to get you back on your feet.

Call 1-800-262-8529 today to speak with the experienced maritime injury lawyers at BoatLaw, LLP. Our attorneys will fight to get you what you are entitled to for your offshore injuries.

BoatLaw, LLP represents clients with offshore injury claims coast-to-coast in courts in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California.

Our offices are located in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California.

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