Oil Rig Fire Attorneys
One of the most common accidents that can happen on an oil platform is the occurrence of a fire. The nature of the work performed on these rigs creates a built-in possibility for explosions, as the employees are handling flammable gas and oil on a daily basis. Not only do these platforms actually drill for oil, but they also remain a storehouse for the liquid until it can be brought safely to land. This creates additional risks, and one tiny spark can set off the entire rig if the workers are not careful.
In 2010, the incident of the Deepwater Horizon resulted in 11 fatalities and many others injured. Our firm stood by some of the families who had lost their loved ones and the individuals who had been harmed in this tragic accident, providing exemplary representation as they sought compensation. As a qualified team of lawyers, we are well-versed on what is involved in these types of cases and can provide the kind of legal counsel you need to obtain the restitution you deserve.
Injured in an Oil Rig Fire? Dedicated Attorneys Advocating for You.
Also known as blowouts, oil rig fires are one of the most dangerous types of explosions in the industry. In the process of drilling for oil or gas, the rig goes into pockets of gas that are embedded in sealed-off layers of rock. While the gas has been sealed off, it has built up an incredible pressure. Oil rigs keep the drilling hole full of dense fluid or drilling mud to handle this pressure. When the weight of the mud or drilling fluid cannot hold back the pressure, natural gas, oil, or water can "blowout" to the surface and cause a fire or explosion.
If you or a loved one have been injured, you need to call a firm that:
- Understands your case and how to advocate on your behalf
- Has a proven record of success securing compensation for injury victims
- Cares about the individuals and families they represent
- Possesses the skills, resources, and expertise to win your case
That is what you will find when you come to Arnold & Itkin. Our team has recovered billions of dollars, a feat that few other firms can claim. More importantly, we have helped countless clients get the fair compensation they deserved following catastrophic oil rig explosions.
Reach out to our oil rig fire attorneys at (888) 493-1629 so that we can review your claim.
Reasons for On-Site Fires
Although water surrounds oil rigs, there is a great potential for fire if necessary precautions are not taken. Any open flame can present the possibility of a catastrophic accident. Incidentally, the only way to get work done aboard an oil platform is with welding and cutting tools that produce heat and fire. It is up to the worker's employer to train them in the proper ways to handle their tools to prevent them from coming into contact with the flammable fuel aboard the rig. Seemingly minor mistakes can result in horrific endings if necessary precautions are not taken.
Electrical fires can be caused by many issues as well. There are specific electrical devices that employees are allowed to use offshore and others that they are prohibited from handling. It is pertinent that individuals abide by the rules set in place for their safety and the safety of others. Additionally, any open wires that have eroded can spark and eventually cause a significant fire if not attended to right away. The staff, in general, must be aware of their surroundings and the dangerous environment that they are a part of when coming aboard an oil platform. Sometimes even natural occurrences such as lightning can strike the platform, leaving little time for employees to escape the rig before the onset of a fire.
Regardless of the circumstances, the oil rig company can be at fault for these types of disasters.
The company may know full well that there are issues aboard an oil platform, but neglect to do anything about it due to the high cost to their business or just plain negligence. Victims of oil rig explosions and fires should always seek medical attention first for any burns or traumatic injuries they have, and then they should get in contact with an exemplary lawyer as soon as possible.
Blowout Preventers Don’t Always Stop Fires
Today, oil rigs have a Blowout Preventers (BOP) to seal in the high-pressure gases that try to force their way to the surface of the hole being drilled. The blowout preventer acts as a lid on a pressure cooker and is attached to the surface casing that is cemented into the ground before the drilling even starts. Blowout preventers can be installed on land-based or offshore rigs and may be located as deep as 7,000 feet or more. These devices are designed to stop pockets of gas from rising, but there are some instances when a blowout preventer is not closed fast enough.
As was the case with the recent Gulf oil rig fire, these fires can also be started when an acetylene torch cuts an oil line. The Black Elk Energy Co. oil and natural gas platform that recently caught on fire was a sobering testimony to the devastation caused by these types of fires. Instead of using a saw, the contracted workers aboard the platform used a torch, which cut a line that had 28 gallons of oil in it and ignited after catching vapors.
Oil Rig Fire FAQ
How do you stop an oil rig fire?
Once it starts, it can be nearly impossible to stop an oil rig fire. Traditional firefighting efforts are ineffective because of the vast amount of fuel that allows the fire to rage on. One method for a fire at a wellhead is to use explosives to essentially “blow out” the fire by creating a shockwave that pushes the burning fuel and oxygen away from the well. The wellhead must then be capped to stop the flow of oil.
Extinguishing a fire on an offshore rig is even more challenging. Explosives could sink the rig, so fire-retardant foam or even seawater may be used to douse the flames. Some have alleged that that the Deepwater Horizon sank as a result of the immense amounts of seawater sprayed at it by private vessels in an attempt to put out the fire.
Who’s responsible for oil rig fires?
All it takes is a single spark—a single mistake—for an oil rig fire to erupt. These catastrophes can be prevented if proper safety standards are implemented, workers are properly trained and supervised, and equipment is properly maintained. Unfortunately, some oil companies choose to put profits and production over the safety of their workers. They may delay in replacing aging equipment. They may push for deadlines that leave workers fatigued and unfocused. They may relax on safety measures. By determining what caused an oil rig fire, we can assign liability (legal responsibility) and help injured workers and their families seek accountability, answers, and justice.
Who Is Responsible for an Oil Rig Fire?
Oil rig blowouts are particularly dangerous because there is little to no warning.
The oil rig workers must always be aware of the amount of fluid in the hole and must keep an eye on trip tank levels as well. Workers can be responsible for fires on oil rigs when they neglect to use proper safety measures like gas pressurization valves.
In general, the following parties may be held accountable for fires:
- An employer or supervisor
- A negligent co-worker
- A manufacturing company
- A maintenance company
More commonly, it is the oil company who is slack in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. Oil companies have a responsibility to stop using equipment found to be outdated or unsafe, but this often does not happen due to financial pressure and the desire to increase profits.
Statistics on Oil & Gas Industry Fires
According to federal labor statistics, the oil and gas industry was responsible for more than 10% of all workplace fatalities related to fires and explosions, with 78 deaths occurring in the industry from 2009 to 2013. Fires and explosions made up the third most frequent cause of fatal accidents (15%) in the oil and gas industry, and this number has grown in recent years. Due to the enormous fuel supply for the fire, oil rig fires are more difficult to extinguish than regular fires. These types of fires may burn for days before crews can plug it, which can create an incredible amount of damage during that time, not to mention serious injuries sustained.
Contact Our Experienced Oil Rig Fire Lawyers: (888) 493-1629
If you or someone you love has been injured in an oil rig fire, it is crucial that you take action to protect your best interests. You have specific rights as an offshore worker, and our firm is here to make sure that you are not taken advantage of by your employer or their insurance company. Arnold & Itkin LLP has filed lawsuits on behalf of countless injured oil rig workers over the years, including those injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Our team of skilled oil rig fire lawyers is more than prepared to stand up for your rights during this time. We have unparalleled legal experience in this area of law, and we can use this to benefit you and your family during this challenging time.
We are here to protect your best interests and obtain fair compensation. Fill out a free case evaluation now.