Offshore Drilling and The Jones Act

Offshore Drilling

Working on a ship, motor vessel, jack-up rig, or offshore rig has special hazards that you may encounter during your employment. The Jones Act recognizes the difficult conditions seamen face when they are injured. At the Zehl & Associates Law Firm in Houston, Texas, you will find an offshore accident lawyer experienced with offshore rig accidents and the rights of workers under the Jones Act. Seaman and Offshore Rig Workers Face Dangerous Conditions. The Jones Act Protects Injured Seamen.

Offshore Drilling and The Jones Act

The Jones Act can be a confusing area of law, and employers might not explain all of a seaman’s rights. An offshore rig accident attorney experienced with Jones Act rights and litigation can advise injured seamen and their families. Call us now. We can help. Jack up rigs are considered boats under the law when they can be moved under their own power. The Jones Act — and the all the rights of the Jones Act — apply to workers on the rigs. The rights also apply to seamen on oil tankers, container ships, offshore supply boats, cruise ships, barges and other watercraft on brown water or blue water, in the Gulf of Mexico or in more distant international waters. Jones Act rights apply to everyone on board. This can include:

  • Captains
  • Mates
  • Deck hands
  • Barge workers
  • Line workers
  • Oilers
  • Crew members
  • Stewards
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The OCS Lands Act

Unfortunately, neither the Jones Act nor the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act provides coverage for those injured on fixed offshore drilling platforms such as those in the Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore platform workers injured on the job are often subject to the OCS Lands Act, which stipulates that only the laws of the state most adjacent to the site of the offshore accident may apply to that accident—not maritime law. In OCS Lands Act cases, the state law is effectively acting as a surrogate for federal law.

There is a three-part test to determine whether or not your accident/injury can be properly addressed under the OCS Lands Act:

  • The incident must have occurred on a site covered by the OCS Lands Act (generally, a stationary offshore structure not otherwise defined as a vessel)
  • Federal maritime law cannot apply to the circumstances of your accident
  • The laws of the adjacent state cannot be inconsistent with relevant federal laws
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Offshore Drilling Accident Attorney

Offshore rig and platform workers experience dangerous conditions at work, including explosions, slip and fall accidents due to oily decks and unsecured equipment, malfunctions of equipment, and injuries caused by being forced to work shorthanded. They should know that the law protects them and that Zehl & Associates Law Firm can help enforce their rights under the law. As of 2012, it was estimated that there nearly 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf. With a large increase in offshore oil production has come a significant increase in the number of oil rig accidents. Each year, there are about 12,000 worker injury accidents on offshore oil rigs and most were due to non-compliance with rules designed to make rig workers safe. Our Offshore Rig and Platform Accident Lawyer servicing the Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers. Contact our law firm at 1-888-984-1252.

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