Drilling Rig Accident Lawyers
Oil & Gas Workers Have One of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the Nation
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who are employed in the oil and gas drilling industry have some of the most dangerous jobs in the entire United States. Coming in next to occupations such as maritime workers and commercial fisherman, oil and gas workers have to be specially trained to perform the job that they have. Each oil and gas drilling company has their plan for what their drilling operations will look like, but they each have to live up to industry-wide standards to maintain safety at the workplace.
Oil and gas workers operate heavy machinery. Many frequently work overtime, which may increase the risk of accidents due to fatigue. Machinery has to be constantly inspected, repaired, and supervised at all times. Just one slip can result in a serious accident in which workers could be injured or killed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that derrick operators and rotary drill operators have a higher-than-average injury rate than those in other occupations. The most current statistics suggest that there are about 134,000 oil and gas workers in the workforce. If you are one of those workers and have suffered a catastrophic injury while on the job, then it is critical that you know your legal rights. There is a good chance that your injuries came by way of oversight. Our drilling rig accident attorneys can stand up for your rights and help you demand the compensation you deserve.
Helping Oilfield Workers Rebuild Their Lives
The oil and gas industry is a dangerous field, but the work that rig workers perform is commendable and necessary. Unfortunately, good workers often get hurt due to unsafe practices, bad training, or old equipment. If you were injured while working on a drilling rig, you might be looking for a way to rebuild your life, find a new line of work—or even make the at-fault party cover your medical costs. Arnold & Itkin wants to help.
Life-altering injuries caused by rig accidents include:
Remember, it is always best to speak directly to a legal professional about your case before speaking to insurers or company investigators. We handle hundreds of different cases caused by all types of rig accidents. If you do not see an accident type that matches your situation, don't hesitate to contact us directly for more detailed information about how our firm is prepared to help you rebuild your life.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Drilling Accidents
An injury becomes “catastrophic” when it leaves the survivor with permanent disabilities that require long-term care and assistance. Every kind of accident that can happen on an oil rig has the potential to turn catastrophic. These types of injuries also have a devastating effect on family members, since spouses, children, or parents must take care of loved ones in new and costly ways.
When loved ones suffer catastrophic harm, they may never be able to work again (or do the same type of work). That means lost wages on top of brand-new living costs. Family caretakers may also have to quit their jobs or halt their careers to care for accident survivors.
Common catastrophic injuries include spinal cord injuries, brain damage, and organ damage. Survivors often suffer from secondary problems, including mental health issues, paraplegia, quadriplegia, or loss of memory, cognitive function, and the like.
The emotional pain and suffering associated with catastrophic injuries (and wrongful death, outlined in the next section) are impossible to truly quantify—however, the law recognizes that these wounds take a massive toll on survivors and their families. One way we help survivors take control of their lives is by taking these losses into account when we build our cases.
Wrongful Death from a Drilling Rig Accident
If your loved one was killed while working in this profession, then you may be left wondering what you can do at this point. You should know that you may be entitled to a wrongful death claim, a special kind of personal injury claim. Some employers may try to protect themselves from wrongful death claims by making their employees sign a waiver saying that their family will not file a suit.
However, even those who have signed a waiver may be able to obtain compensation for pain and suffering or lost wages.
No one can quantify how much a loved one meant to us, but wrongful death suits seek aid for:
- The family’s income from before the accident
- Lost costs from child care and parental guidance
- The loss of consortium
- The loss of companionship
- Emotional pain and suffering
North Dakota Oil Boom Deemed Bittersweet
Within recent years, North Dakota residents have been exposed to the oil and gas industry in a way they never have before. While many people see the benefits of royalties through leasing their land to oil and gas drilling companies, many others feel as if they have been invaded.
Many North Dakota residents do not even own the mineral rights to the land that they live on. Because of this, oil and gas drilling companies can set up operations on the land at any time they wish and are not required to give the (surface) landowners a dime.
The presence of oil to this degree was not discovered until the 1950s, when Henry Bakken, a farmer, tapped into it. The Bakken Formation spans over 15,000 square miles with an estimated 4.3 billion barrels of oil lying beneath the surface. This gets extracted through hydraulic fracturing. Also known as "fracking," this is a process in which extremely deep holes are punctured into the ground and "fracking fluid" is injected inside of it to break up the sediment and cause the oil to travel to the surface.
While this may sound like a foolproof method of extraction, there have been many concerns. These concerns are not only for the residents exposed to the side effects of fracking operations but for the workers who conduct it. The fracking fluid used to extract the crude is a water, sand, and chemical mixture. It is effective for fracking, but it is recently being discovered to be effective at causing worker illness. This mixture has proven to be potentially toxic for workers. Even when they are wearing the necessary protective gear, they may still be at risk for developing an occupational disease.
Drilling Rig Accident FAQ
What causes drilling rig accidents?
An accident on an onshore or offshore drilling rig may be caused by negligence, inexperience, defective equipment or machinery, or inadequate implementation of safety standards. Some accidents are caused by a combination of these factors. Because oilfield work is physical in nature, involves hazardous and flammable substances, and uses heavy machinery, it has an inherently higher risk of causing harm to workers. Even a single act of negligence or a misstep could cause a catastrophic blowout, fire, explosion, or fall.
If I was injured on a drilling rig, do I have to use the Company Doctor?
If you were injured on a drilling rig, your employer may recommend a certain doctor or medical facility for your treatment. You are not required by law to see the company doctor. You have the right to choose your own doctor, and you should not return to work until your doctor clears you to do so. After a drilling rig accident, it’s important to put your welfare first and get the medical treatment you need. Follow your doctor’s orders and wait until you’re healed to go back to work.
What should I do after a drilling rig accident?
If you were injured in a drilling rig accident, there are three crucial steps you should take. First, seek medical care. Second, inform your employer of the incident. Third, talk to an attorney. Taking each of these steps will help you protect your health, your eligibility for compensation, and your legal rights. Working on an oil or gas drilling crew may be dangerous, but this does not limit your right to compensation for your injuries. At Arnold & Itkin, our attorneys are here to ensure injured workers and their families get the medical treatment and support they need after serious accidents and injuries on offshore and onshore drilling rigs. We’ve recovered billions of dollars in compensation for our clients and are ready to see how we can help you.
Your Family Deserved Better Than This. Take the First Step: (888) 493-1629
If you feel like your life has been irreparably ruined, you have an advocate on your side fighting to bring your life back to normal. Oilfield workers provide the energy that runs our country—it’s time for us to return the favor. To learn more, share your story with the drilling rig injury attorneys at our firm. We’re eager to help you figure out the next step in a free consultation.
Use our simple form to reach out to Arnold & Itkin today or call (888) 493-1629 for your free consultation.