Oil Rig Injury Attorney
Injured by an Oil Rig Explosion? Arnold & Itkin LLP Can Help!
Crude oil is in demand in the United States as we aim to pull away from foreign oil dependency and look to sustain our own oil industry. In recent years, offshore drilling has become more favorable than ever before. To tap into the massive reserves of oil under the ocean and right off our own coasts, oil rig platforms have been erected throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the drilling and refining of crude oil happens right out at sea.
Oil companies provide thousands of workers with jobs, but these giant rigs can be an incredibly hazardous place to work. Working on a platform is known as one of the most dangerous jobs in America for good reason.
Drilling utilizes astounding pressure in order to retrieve oil. Any blockage or backflow in the system can result in an intense explosion, igniting the naturally-occurring hydrocarbons in the process. These are known as “blowouts.” Blowouts are usually sudden and can rupture pipelines, causing serious amounts of pressurized oil and gas to spew into the surrounding area. They often result in catastrophic explosions and fires.
The blowouts that occur onboard an oil platform are always serious. The seamen who devote their careers to drilling and maintenance projects on offshore oil platforms are vulnerable to the dangers of such projects. Oil rig explosion injuries range from severe burns, to blunt trauma, to crush injuries and dismemberment. In many cases, workers cannot entirely recover from their injuries due to their catastrophic nature.
Common Types of Oil Rig Injuries
Severe burns can lead to lifelong pain and medical treatment—not to mention the psychological injuries caused by the cause of the burn. Burn injuries also present a unique set of difficulties. Ranging from first-degree to fourth-degree burns, these injuries can affect a person's life on a massive scale through long-term and permanent injury. In some cases, burns can lead to impaired mobility or total loss of the limb. In the most severe circumstances, charring burns can sear a victim’s tissue all the way down to the bone. Scarring, contractures, local infections, amputation, and significant functional impairment can all result. There is also a stronger chance of skin cancer, gangrene, or death from these wounds.
Brain injuries are incredibly serious and require immediate medical attention and may result in long-term recovery. Brain injuries can occur for many reasons. Falling debris from damaged structure may land on a worker, a worker may be forced down because of the pressure of the explosion itself, or a worker experience significant oxygen deprivation because of smoke inhalation during the resulting fire.
The force at which an explosion leaves a well or pipe can be enough to knock someone off their feet; however, the resulting fall may seriously and permanently damage a worker's spine. Spinal cord injuries are considered medical emergencies and need to be dealt with in timely manner to ensure that paralysis does not occur and that no further damage is done to the spinal column, nerves, or muscles around the vertebrae.
Oil rigs consist of giant metal structures with large operating tools. Crush injuries are a very real risk after an explosion, as the force of the pressure moving up a pipe and into a mud pump or hydroneumatic compensator may cause large objects to break lose and fall. Any rig workers standing directly below these components as they fall may be crushed or trapped under the heavy machinery. This can cause catastrophic damage.
One of the most gruesome injuries that can occur to offshore rig workers is dismemberment. In the event of an explosion, arms and legs can become trapped in equipment and be torn from the body. Unlike surgical amputation, these accidents often result in an untimely death.
If I Was Injured On An Oil Rig, What Are My Legal Options?
If your injury was sustained as a result of the negligence of a third party, you will be entitled to file a claim.
If your injury occurred while you were working on an offshore oil rig, you may be entitled to relief through:
The Jones Act
This would require a showing that your employer was negligent, much like a personal injury lawsuit. It must also be proven that you as the employee carried the title of "seaman" at the time of your injury. You are considered a seaman if at least 30% of your work hours were spent on an offshore vessel. The Jones Act also only covers United States citizens on American-owned vessels.
Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
You do not need to show fault in this type of claim, which has procedures and benefits similar to the workers' compensation system that covers industrial injuries that occur on land. This act states that if you are an offshore worker or work in an "adjacent occupation" even if you do not spend 30% or more of your time on an offshore vessel, you are liable to compensation under this act.
Legal Representation for Oil Rig Explosion Injury Victims
After suffering from an injury of any degree, rig workers can and should take legal action. To forego this right would meaning foregoing your chance for compensation, which could be used for the costs of recovery. In our experience, workers know that their injuries are not purely accidental—they know that oil rig explosions are the result of negligence and valuing profit over safety. Civil law is designed to give you a chance to receive justice. Justice is more than symbolic—it has allowed our clients to move forward with confidence, equipped with financial security.
The medical expenses that result from staying at the hospital would be costly. Add in the costs of rehabilitation and lost wages and the seamen could be facing drastically unaffordable costs—even with the best insurance. In many cases, workers’ compensation is unable to cover the costs of treatment and recovery. Oil rig explosion victims in this situation can pursue other compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. With the help of an experienced injury attorney, our clients have taken action against those responsible for their pain and suffering.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve: Call (888) 493-1629
Offshore oil companies have a duty to provide their employees with the necessary safety precautions to prevent a major disaster at sea; however, some accidents cannot be avoided. Oil explosions can have devastating effects on coastal communities, fishing, and the economy, but no effect can be as heartbreaking and difficult to get through as a serious injury received by a rig worker during the initial explosion.
If you or a loved one has been tragically injured or wrongfully killed in an oil rig explosion, you deserve compensation. At Arnold & Itkin, we have experience in representing workers who were injured in explosions on rigs. All told, we have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Oil rig explosions get a lot of media attention, especially in the years since the Deepwater Horizon spill. In that event, 11 rig workers were presumed dead on the scene and others were flown to nearby medical facilities to receive treatment. Injured workers and families of those who lost their lives that fateful April morning put their trust in our team. We honored that trust with life-changing results. We represented many of the victims and families of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and we were successful in helping them achieve the financial compensation that they deserved. We have extensive and unique experience in handling these types of cases, and we may be able to help you as well.
If you were injured in any explosion, contact Arnold & Itkin. With our experience and record for results, you can fight for the financial compensation that you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today.