Offshore Crane and Oil Rig Accidents: What You Need To Know

Injuries sustained by maritime workers – those working on or near the water – are subject to different laws and regulations than injuries sustained by land-based workers. On top of those, offshore crane and oil rig accidents have rules of their own. Confusing? It can be – but not to Attorney Tim Young.

A maze of laws

Maritime law can be extremely complex due to the maze of laws that apply to different accidents. In a recent interview, Tim Young, an attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana whose firm’s practice focuses on maritime injury cases, explained how crane and oil rig accidents are handled. Here’s what he told us:

Cranes. Cranes that operate offshore are subject to certain regulations. The American Petroleum Institute, or API, publishes certain crane guidelines and regulations. In an offshore environment, cranes are used on a daily basis, so our office sees a lot of injuries involving cranes or individuals working with cranes.

They are handled in our office by hiring experts who are familiar with crane regulations. They can determine if the crane operator, who’s normally the one in charge of the procedure, was licensed (which he must be) and if the crane operator was following all of the regulations that applied at the time of the accident. There is no separate, or different, procedure other than simply filing the suit. However, it’s very important to have an expert involved in the case who knows how the crane should have been operating.

Oil rigs. Oil rig accidents normally have a separate set of regulations that apply to them. They are coastguard regulations. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, regulations are guidelines for offshore environments also. So, whereas a crane will normally have certain API regulations apply to it, an oil rig may also have some of those regulations apply, but many times, basic coastguard regulations apply to the vessel or rig. So, both the API and coastguard rules could be a factor in these cases.

The benefits of an expert’s review

Because of the complexities of maritime law, it’s important to have an expert review the situation. Young, whose firm litigates maritime cases that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico involving oil rig workers, the Mississippi River involving tug boat workers and other bodies of water, explained, “The experts that we use are very qualified. They have successfully worked in the industry for years and generally have between 15 and 30 years of experience in the industry. The rules and regulations that apply will very often determine whether you can successfully receive a settlement or a verdict. You have to be aware of what rules apply and have an expert address those rules and regulations. That’s what our office does on a case by case basis.”

If you have been injured in an accident on or near the water, contact an attorney whose practice focuses on maritime issues. To contact an experienced maritime attorney, please click here.

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