As someone working on a seagoing vessel you assume a dangerous job and the risk of having a really serious injury while you’re away at sea. Most of these injuries could take away your livelihood or permanently diminish your life’s quality. Fortunately, if you know your rights in this regard you have some recourse if necessary.

Handling Offshore Injuries

When you’re injured in an offshore accident, you’ll want to hire a good lawyer who specializes in admiralty law, which is also known as maritime law. This is a distinct body of law governing maritime activities. These are activities that use the sea to produce an end result. Some examples include transportation, war, and territorial boundaries.

This is a very complex area of the law that’s governed by various federal statutes. These are very different from other types of injury cases because of the distinct risks employees encounter in this specific environment. Thanks to maritime law employees are protected from negligence when personal injuries or other types of accidents occur. Other types of cases covered by this law include those involving drilling rigs, barges, and other vessels including oil platforms. Transport helicopters originating in international and foreign waters and traveling on U.S. waterways are also covered by this law.

Introducing the Jones Act

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, give you certain legal rights. These protect your health and livelihood. Under this law you’re entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer if you’re injured by your fellow crew members’ or the ship owner’s negligence. If you’re killed because of this, the Jones Act allows your surviving spouse or dependents to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

When you or your family seek compensation because you’re injured while working on a barge, container ship, tugboat, crew boat, dredge, cargo ship, fishing vessel, or any other type of moveable vessel and the court resolves the case in your favor your employer must give you compensation for your health, family, and livelihood. This compensation must pay for your lost wages, medical expenses, and even for your non-economic damages.

History Behind the Jones Act

The Jones Act does a lot for anyone who’s suffered an offshore injury. However, it wasn’t always there to protect them. Before 1920 the law didn’t exist and many people suffered from abhorable working and living conditions on board ships. This led to many injuries and other issues that weren’t corrected until Senator Wesley L. Jones of Washington proposed this act. Under this law boating, companies must now maintain good, safe working conditions for their employees. This went a long way towards bolstering the growth of both foreign and domestic marine commerce.

Offshore Injury Types Covered by the Jones Act

There are several different offshore injury types covered by the Jones Act. Some of the most common types include:

Rig injuries occur because of the job’s harsh and often difficult conditions and include everything from burns to broken bones, paralysis, and even death

Deck accidents occur when you’re struck by a falling or swinging object and often result in the loss of a finger or other body part

Equipment failures are inevitable and can result in burns, electric shock, or the loss of body parts

Fires, explosions, and collisions can lead to burn injuries and fatalities

Jack-up rig accidents including electrical fires and gas leaks which cause burns and other serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries

Tugboat and barge injuries occur because of tripping and falling and are often severe

Fortunately, the Jones Act covers each of these different types of an offshore injury.


Although you probably understand that your job as a worker on a seagoing vessel is risky and dangerous, it should make you feel somewhat better knowing that this law is in place to protect you. Hopefully nothing ever happens and you never need to use it, but if you do, at least you’re protected.

The ocean could be really dangerous, especially for offshore oil rig workers. A single accident can make you physically impaired permanently. To safeguard the interest of oil rig workers, the Merchant Marine law has been passed to compensate the workers and restore justice. As a worker, you may want to know your rights in case you become a victim of a ghastly offshore explosion while performing your duties. It is here a reliable lawyer dedicated to offshore drilling rig accidents come into the picture to help out. However, you should find the best lawyer for your case to make sure you receive what you are supposed to by the law.

Do some research

Many folks choose the very first attorney they come across. However, you shouldn’t hire the first Jones act lawyer you stumble upon in your hunt for a legal representative. You ought to carry out some research to find the right attorney to represent your case in the court. By picking a lawyer who has substantial experience in the case, you stand a better chance of winning. In cases of offshore rig accidents, it is the attorney with quite a number of cases in his/her hands who proves to be the best lawyer for handling the dispute.

When it comes to searching for lawyers, use every possible resource to enlist competent and experienced lawyers. You do not want to feel sorry for not exploring a particular handy resource for spotting an ideal attorney for your particular case. Explore your contacts, relatives, local directories and newspapers to list out reputed lawyers. Almost all lawyers have their online presence; so be sure you check the World Wide Web to find lawyers.

Choose a lawyer who has immense knowledge of the Merchant Marine Act

Although many lawyers offer their services to cases of accidents associated with an offshore explosion, all of them are not worth considering. You will only waste your time and money if you hire a lawyer who hardly handles maritime related cases. It is best to concentrate on lawyers who have in-depth knowledge of the Jones Act. A lawyer who specializes in offshore rig accident cases is much better than other lawyers.

Compare and choose the lawyer smartly

After enlisting the names of reliable Jones Act lawyers, you may want to shop smartly to select the right one. First of all, check the work portfolio and certifications of lawyers in your check list. Focus on attorneys who have a certificate in Jones Act. Aside from this, look for lawyers who have battled a good number of cases related to offshore rig accidents.

Now obtain detailed quotes from each of these lawyers. Also, check online reviews and find out what users are saying about these attorneys. In accordance with reviews and testimonies, concentrate on attorneys who have a better track record with maximum positive reviews. Now compare the services, charges and success rate of these attorneys minutely. Finally, settle with the lawyer who can ensure that you will get the best compensation and favorable justice.

Bottom line

The ocean offers a wealth of opportunities to businesses as well as workers. However, the same ocean can pose serious health threats, especially to offshore drilling rig workers. However, you can subside some of the effects of an offshore explosion by getting compensation for your injuries. Just be sure you follow the above advice when looking for a lawyer. With proper research and guidance, you could pick the right attorney to get justice and compensation for your injuries and sufferings.

According to the Arizona Geological Survey a single oil drilling venture costs between $400,000 – $ 1,000,000. Each temporary hole that a company digs costs between $8,000 – $150,000 per day. Clearly, offshore drilling is an expensive venture. It’s also a tedious one that involves geologists and environmental specialists working together. Fortunately, many great advancements were made so that oil drilling isn’t as challenging today as it was in the past.

Where Offshore Oil Drilling Occurs

Although many of us are familiar with oil beds located on land or in shallow bodies of water, you should know they’re also located deep beneath the ocean too. Reaching these sites is dangerous, but it’s also very rewarding. With this in mind, those who are drilling for oil must be both accurate and careful. Failure to act in this regard often leads to a deadly aftermath for the worker and the environment they’re working in. This is why so many rules and regulations exist. They’re established by the government.

Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU)

MODU uses sonic equipment for drilling oil. The equipment discovers areas where it thinks oil deposits exist. It then drills for the oil before other production oils go to work capturing the oil. When this happens miners set a permanent oil production arrangement in place instead of the MODU.

There are four main types of MODU. These include:

Submersible MODU is a barge that rests 30 — 35 feet above the ocean floor. From here it extends steel posts and drills for oil. This only works in still water.

Jackup MODU sit on top of a floating barge. A ship then tows the barge towards the drilling site. Once it reaches the location, they place the jackup on top of the drilling site. From here it extends its legs out onto the ocean floor. A platform rises up and drilling occurs.

Drill ship MODU are ships with a drill on their top deck. These use propellers and anchors to drill down into the earth’s surface. They even work in deep water environments.

Semisubmersible MODU float on the ocean’s surface. They have both a navigation and a propulsion system used for navigating drilling sites. This system is fully computerized so it’s completely dependent on technology.

Allowing a MODU to drill deep into the ocean’s floor in search of oil is both costly and risky. However, when miners discover a good oil deposit the rewards far outweigh the risks.

Working on an oil rig, drilling for oil and gas offshore, is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States today. Unfortunately, these risks are unavoidable. Oftentimes an offshore incident occurs because people are working 12-hour shifts each day with very combustible materials on a small platform with cranes swinging heavy materials around over their head.

An Example of an Offshore Incident: the Deepwater Horizon oil Spill

One very well-known offshore incident was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 and left oil spewing into the area’s water for 87 days. A flawed well plan that didn’t include enough cement between the 7-inch production casing and the 9 7/8-inch protection casing caused this offshore incident. When this happened 11 platform workers died. Although the Coast Guard spent three days searching for their bodies, they were never found. An additional 17 people were also injured.

According to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier BP was mostly to blame for this offshore incident. He also said that Transocean, owner of the drilling rig, and Haliburton, the cement contractor, were blameworthy. As such, BP paid out over $20 billion for this offshore incident – only a small fraction of the $61.6 billion needed for cleaning up the spill itself. This was the largest settlement with a single entity in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice. Somehow, miraculously, BP is still in business today.


Over the course of history there have been many incidents caused by offshore drilling. BP is simply the biggest and so it’s the best known offshore incident. Anyone who works in this industry knows and understands just how dangerous their job is. Fortunately, the United States also realizes this as well. For this reason, they’ve enacted the Jones Act ((39 Stat. 545, c. 416 a.k.a. the Merchant Marine Act of 1920).

This federal statute protects anyone working in the maritime industry today. As a cabotage law it covers anyone working on any ship conducting trade between ports within the United States. This offers them extra coverage when an offshore incident occurs because of a company’s negligence. The compensation available under the Jones Act is in addition to the compensation an injured maritime worker receives regardless of fault. So, while maritime workers do have a very dangerous job, they also have a great deal of protection when and if an offshore incident occurs.

The new frontier… as early as the 1800s versions of off shore operation for oil drilling began. Some of the original oil derricks were in as low as 4 meters or approximately 13 feet deep. Now offshore drilling is a different kind of frontier. Floating cities that house massive drills into the earth that lies beneath the sea extracting liquid gold, yes oil. With every new innovation the hope is to make off shore drilling safer, but when you are working with Mother Nature is it really safe?

US Oil Independence

The belief is that the outer continental shelf in the ocean has enough oil to free us of depending on any other country for oil. Most of the outer continental shelf that is left is protected under current Eco-protectionism laws. The truth of the matter is that if we started drilling today we would not see any benefits of drilling at least until 2030. The opposition to the addition to more drilling seems to outweigh the proponents, but that has not meant anything with the current administration’s policies.


Hurricanes are life or death situations for a worker on and offshore derrick. Most shut down operations and cut off emergency supply valves to avoid an oil spill. Katrina and Rita, Gulf hurricanes that both occurred in 2005, destroyed 115 oil platforms and damaged an additional 52 others. This time period was the largest shut down of oil and gas production in the Gulf due to a natural disaster. What we learned from this was building the platforms higher to avoid some of the pounding waves and water pressure that happens in a huge storm or hurricane.

Fires and Explosions

When working with oil and gas it does not matter if you are on land or sea, the event still can happen and we had an environmental disaster when it did in 2010. The Deepwater Horizon drilling platform rig exploded and killed 11 workers and kept Americans watching for 85 days as BP worked to plug the leak that spilled at least 4 million barrels of oil in the Gulf. It was a sad period for all those affected and all Americans as we watched the disaster unfold. It took a toll environmentally and still is from Texas to the Panhandle of Florida wildlife and sea-life alike still struggle to survive. The fishing industry is beginning to bounce back, but the stigma of seafood from the region remains. Some of estuaries, salt marshes and wetlands of the Gulf region still have oil on their banks and the environmental impact is an ongoing study.
Do we really need it?

The real question is do we really need additional offshore operations in any of the waters surrounding our states? Will it make a difference to better us as a country, or will it hurt us as a country? Do we really want to look out on every ocean and see an offshore drilling operation?