Crew boats help transport workers and supplies to offshore job sites. In the Pearland area, many crew boats service offshore drilling rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
A Pearland crew boat accident lawyer could advise you on your rights as a passenger or member of the crew. The vessel owners and operators might try to take advantage of an individual who does not know the law, so spending some time learning your rights with a maritime injury attorney is a wise investment.
Common Types of Crew Boat Accidents
Regardless of the type of vessel, owners and operators must ensure that their boats are seaworthy, provide reasonably safe working conditions for the staff on board, and protect passengers from injury. Although every accident is different, certain incidents are common on crew boats because of their unique function.
For example, a person could be injured when transferring from a crew boat to a drilling platform, which often involves being hoisted by a crane in a basket. Additionally, a crew boat that is overloaded with cargo could affect its seaworthiness and cause a collision or capsize. Cargo that is improperly loaded might shift or fall and injure a passenger. Violence among crew members or passengers can also lead to injury on crew boats.
Vessel owners and operators could avoid most crew boat accidents if they invested adequate time and money in personnel training and vessel maintenance and enforced proper safety measures. However, the nature of the oil and gas industry often puts profit above worker welfare. When a crew boat accident results, a Pearland attorney could help pursue adequate compensation from liable parties.
Maintenance and Cure Benefits for Crew Boat Workers in Pearland
If you spend at least 30 percent of your working hours at sea, you are entitled to the benefits of maintenance and cure (M&C). Like workers’ compensation benefits for injured land-based workers, M&C offers payments for daily living expenses and medical care to injured seamen. An injured crew boat worker is entitled to receive M&C benefits from the date of injury, regardless of cause of the accident and whether the crewman played a part in its severity.
It is sometimes unclear whether a crew boat worker is legally considered a seaman, however. For example, energy industry employees might work offshore on mobile drilling units, floating production facilities, jack-up rigs, spars, and similar facilities. Although these structures float and some are mobile, it is not always clear whether workers on these facilities are considered seamen under the law. A knowledgeable attorney could advise you on whether you might be entitled to seaman’s benefits in a particular crew boat accident case.
Negligence or Unseaworthiness Could Be Cause for Lawsuit
Maritime law and the Jones Act allow people injured at sea to bring lawsuits against vessel owners and operators seeking damages for their injuries. The damages available in these claims are similar to those that an individual might receive in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are able to prove negligence for a crew boat accident, you can bring an action under the Jones Act. This federal law provides a remedy to seaman and passengers who suffer injuries onboard a vessel in navigable waters.
If your injury is the result of the vessel being unseaworthy, you may bring a claim under the general maritime law. Seaworthiness does not just refer to a vessel’s capacity to stay afloat—any condition aboard ship that could cause injury could be evidence of unseaworthiness.
Whether bringing suit under the Jones Act, maritime common law, or both, your conduct could be called into question if the crew boat owner or operator contends that your carelessness or recklessness caused your injury rather than their negligence. This matter must be decided by a jury, and an experienced Pearland attorney could present evidence showing that most or all of the blame for the accident rests on the crew boat owner or operator.
Depend on a Pearland Attorney to Handle Your Crew Boat Claim
If you suffered injuries on a crew boat, the vessel owner or operating company might try to pressure you into accepting less than what you are entitled to receive in compensation. Working with a Pearland crew boat accident lawyer could help you avoid this situation. Call today to speak with a maritime attorney who will fight for you.