Commercial Divers and Construction Workers
Working as a commercial diver is dangerous work. Your life depends upon your captain, your equipment, the dive master, and fellow crewmen to safely do their job. A moment’s negligence or the failure to repair a piece of critical equipment can lead to a catastrophic injury or death. There is only one way for a commercial diver to do a job, and that is the safe way. Cutting corners on safety can lead to a lifelong injury that prevents you from returning to work as a commercial diver. Divers must be properly trained and supervised. A diver should not be asked to dive in dangerous water conditions, poor visibility, strong or unpredictable currents, or at excessive depths.
Maritime injury lawyer James Beard has been representing injured maritime workers and Jones Act seamen for over 30 years. He has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured maritime workers located throughout the country. He has represented over 30 families in maritime wrongful death claims. His experience includes vessel sinking cases such as the sinking of the Aleutian Enterprise, the Alaska Ranger, and the Arctic Rose. Most recently, he has represented crewmen in wrongful death claims involving Alaska gold dredges and harvesting of geoducks ducks in Puget Sound.
In all commercial diving accident cases, it is important to preserve all of the equipment involved, begin an early investigation, and take statements from key witnesses. In many cases, representing an injured commercial diver will require a team of experts to recover the damages you deserve.
Commercial diving cases are complicated. While Federal maritime law will govern most commercial diving cases, determining the legal status of the diver must be based upon a case-by-case analysis. An experienced maritime injury lawyer should be consulted in all diving cases involving permanent injuries. Your legal status at the time of the injury will govern what you must prove to recover damages, and the scope of damages that will be available to compensate you for your injuries. The location of your injury, the type of vessel or work platform you worked upon, and your connection to that vessel all are important factors in determining your rights to compensation for your injuries.
Depending upon your circumstances, OSHA safety regulations may or may not apply to your dive case. Even where OSHA safety regulations do not apply, there are basic industry minimum standards relating to dive safety. There are few commercial diving cases that cannot be prevented if proper training, competent crew, and safe equipment are provided to the diver. Under the Jones Act, the employer owes each of his crewmen divers the duty to provide a safe place to work. Where a piece of equipment fails under normal and expected use, the vessel is presumed to have been unseaworthy.
In many cases, the issue is whether or not the diver qualifies for coverage as a Jones Act seaman or is classified as a longshore or harbor worker. In other cases involving transportation to and from a vessel (dive boat cases), the diver may have straight negligence claims or third party liability claims. If a commercial diver qualifies as a Jones Act seaman, he may recover damages for past pain and suffering, past and future lost wages, medical expenses, and lost earning capacity. The Jones Act and the unseaworthiness doctrine are laws created to provide full compensation to seamen, including commercial divers who have legal status as seamen.
If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial diving accident and you have questions about your rights under Federal maritime law, contact maritime injury lawyer James Beard at 1-800-621-1091 to discuss your claim. Beard is always on the side of the injured worker and never represents insurance companies. He may be hired on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you owe no attorney fees unless you recover damages.