Oil Rig Injury Attorney – OIL RIG EXPLOSION LAWYER – Oil Field Accident Lawyer

Oil rig explosions are among the most dangerous types of accidents for oil and gas employees and other maritime workers. Oil platforms are at high risk for explosions and fires — all it takes is a small spark that can cause widespread damage or even sink an entire operation. In such cases, an oil rig explosion attorney can help the victim and their families deal with the massive losses caused by the incident.

An oil rig explosion can lead to life-changing and sometimes fatal injuries for employees. Tragically, explosions can result from simple mistakes or equipment failures, and can often result in widespread damage to the environment.

Workers on offshore oil rigs are prone to some of the highest rates of injury among any job in the United States. Not only are these workers at risk for injury from tragic disasters like blowouts and oil rig fires, but they are also at risk from mundane injuries from falling because of dangerous deck conditions or being injured lifting or carrying supplies.

If you or a loved one was injured at work on an offshore oil rig, the attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind may be able to help. Our offshore oil rig employee injury and accident attorneys represent oil workers and their families in lawsuits against their employers and the rig owners to get compensation for serious injuries. Call our law offices today to discuss filing a lawsuit for injuries or the death of a loved one. Our law offices can be reached at (866) 386-1762.

Common Injuries You Can Sue for on Offshore Oil Rigs – Oil Field Accident Lawyer

Injuries on oil rigs can come from dozens of sources. Something as simple as a slip and fall on a wet deck or a burn in the kitchen might not compare to serious injuries from heavy machinery or a crane accident – but many of these injuries still allow you to sue for damages.

Offshore oil workers are not governed by workers’ compensation. This means that they cannot simply file for coverage, but they do typically have the right to sue their employer or the owner of the rig when they get injured at work. To get compensation for your injuries, you must prove that your employer or the rig owner was in some way responsible for the injuries.

Rig owners and employers are often liable for the work conditions as well as the physical conditions on the oil rig. This means that they are responsible for ensuring that there are proper handrails and lighting on steps and catwalks to keep workers safe while going about their day. It also means that oil pressure systems and safety systems need to be in working order to prevent blowouts, fires, and other disasters.

Employers are also responsible for training and equipping their workers. This means they must train all workers in proper techniques and safety procedures – and they typically must do so in a language the worker understands. Your employer should also provide you with safety equipment like goggles, hard hats, protective clothing, harnesses, and other important safety gear. If this equipment isn’t provided in working condition, your employer may be responsible for injuries you face because of the defective or missing equipment. Your employer is also commonly responsible for unsafe conditions or issues they should have avoided through better training or policies in the workplace.

Injuries could also happen during transportation to or from the rig in a boat accident or helicopter crash. Lifting or carrying cargo to load it on or off a barge could also cause injuries from strain or from crane accidents.

Overall, offshore oil workers could face any of the following injuries on the job, and, depending on how the injury occurred, they may be able to sue:

  • Amputation
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Crushing injuries
  • Falls
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries

You can also typically sue for the death of a loved one in an offshore oil accident if their employer was responsible.

Damages in an Offshore Oil Injury Lawsuit

In most lawsuits, the purpose of suing is to seek damages. These damages are intended to put the victim back to the same position they were in before the injuries occurred. Of course, money cannot take back the injuries, but it can pay for medical expenses and lost wages so that the victim and their family can move forward without worrying about the impact of the injuries. However, additional damages are often called for to cover the pain and suffering of the injury or, in cases of wrongful death, any additional effects caused by the death of a loved one.

Damages for medical expenses should cover the full cost of necessary medical treatment. This can involve the cost of emergency medivac or other medical transportation to get the victim to shore for treatment as well as the cost of medical procedures, surgeries, follow-up visits, rehabilitation, and occupational therapy.

If the victim missed work during their recovery or suffered injuries severe enough to prevent them from returning to work, they can also claim damages for these lost wages. Wages they already missed can be proved in court by producing financial records, but damages can also be projected going forward. If the worker faced lost earning capacity because of the injury, they can seek ongoing damages for their future lost wages, too.

Damages for pain and suffering are often more complex to prove. The victim usually needs to testify as to how the injury affected their life and their enjoyment of their life. Testimony about how hard it is to care for oneself or participate in activities they used to love can often justify higher pain and suffering damages.

If your loved one was killed in an accident on an offshore oil rig, you can claim additional damages for their funeral, burial, lost inheritances, and other effects their death had on your family.

Major Oil Rig Explosion Incidents

On April 20, 2010, the semi-submersible oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded, causing one of the most catastrophic oil spills in history. The rig was owned by Transocean, a large offshore drilling contractor and leased by British Petroleum, the oil and gas giant otherwise known as “BP.” The Deepwater Horizon rig was one of the largest deepwater drilling rigs ever built, measuring 396 feet long and 256 feet wide. It burned for 36 hours until a final explosion sank it.

Of the 126 crew members on board at the time, 11 died, and many more were injured. After the explosion, the oil rig spilled 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, creating an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions.

BP has been responsible for many of the most significant environmental disasters of the last decade:

  • 2004 refinery explosion killed several people and injured many others
  • 2005 refinery explosion at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas killed 15 people and injured 170 workers
  • 2006 corroded pipeline caused an oil spill in Prudhoe Bay
  • 2008 and 2009 pipelines in Alaska were found ruptured, clogged, and could have caused serious explosions

BP’s actions have not only affected those injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but they have also impacted the businesses of fishers, shrimpers, and oystermen along the gulf coast. Additionally, many businesses along the coast were left in financial ruin from the lost business due to the BP oil spill.

BP is not the only bad actor in the oil and gas industry. One day after BP agreed to pay a record $4.5 billion criminal fine for its role in Deepwater Horizon, another rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrating that safety continues to be a serious concern with offshore drilling. On November 16, 2012, a Black Elk Energy rig exploded, causing the deaths of two workers and injuring many more. The rig is located approximately 36 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

Oil Rig Accident Statistics

As the competition to drill for oil continues, there are mounting concerns regarding the safety of workers on oil rigs. The U.S. government recently reported that between 2001 and 2010, there were 69 documented offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries, and 858 fires and explosions on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports that in 2018 alone, there were:

  • 77 fires
  • Three explosions
  • 19 gas releases
  • Six collisions
  • 19 spills

Explosions can be a risk and danger in various types of accidents, especially fires and gas release incidents.

What to do Post Accident

Although taking the correct safety measures can help you steer clear of an accident, being aware of the steps to take in case you are involved in one is crucial.

  • Notify your employer: When on-the-job injuries happen, notifying your employer should always be top of mind. Failure to report an accident can hinder your opportunity to receive fair compensation and could even result in you losing your job by not reporting. Your employer is required to report the incident to Division of Workers Compensation in Texas within eight days of your job site injury. From there an investigation into your accident will begin. Remember, before speaking to any sort of claim adjustor, contact an attorney with Carabin Shaw.
  • Seek immediate medical attention: In order to make sure you receive the best health outcome from your situation, you must seek medical attention for any injuries sustained. Often time people ignore injuries resulting in worse results down the road. If your employer provides workers compensation, you may have a pre-meditated list to choose from.
  • Seek out an oil rig accident attorney: By the time this step has approached, there most likely has already been a dive into your investigation. It is important to contact an attorney for a consultation into your case so that you are equipped to handle any wrenches thrown your way. Most insurance companies will try to minimize your compensation, but Carabin Shaw’s team of experienced attorneys can help you to navigate this process. Our San Antonio office is just a phone call away.

What Is the Jones Act?

Workers on offshore oil rigs are considered maritime industry workers under the law, and thus any injuries that occur on these rigs fall under the Jones Act.

This federal law allows sea-based workers to sue their employers for personal injuries suffered on the job, as these employees are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The law states that all maritime employers must provide a reasonably safe work environment and take proper care to maintain vessels in a safe condition.

To seek damages through the Jones Act, injured workers must demonstrate that their employers acted negligently, and that this negligence resulted in the injury. Even if your employer’s negligence was only partly responsible for an accident, you still may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. The statute of limitations on these claims is three years, so you only have a limited amount of time after you suffer an injury at work to file a claim.

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