One of the most dangerous jobs on the planet is offshore oil rig work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,566 workers died from injuries in the oil and gas drilling between 2008-2017. In fact, in 2017 alone there were 69 fatalities on oil rigs, with the majority of them occurring in Texas. For offshore oil rig workers, an explosion is the most catastrophic offshore oil rig disaster that can occur. Companies have a responsibility to ensure their workers are safe by routinely servicing their equipment and making sure their employees are following safety protocols. Explosions whether they happen on land or at sea, cause some of the most severe and traumatic injuries or even death.
How do oil rig explosions occur?
Rigs use high amounts of electricity and fuel to run the machinery. Just the smallest spark can lead to deadly situations. Oil rig explosions occur most often as a result of the following:
- Equipment failure
Offshore oil rigs are usually far out at sea and can be difficult to get to. In some cases, workers travel to these by helicopter. These rigs may float, be built on the ocean floor, or on man-made islands. To provide for their families, oil rig employees must live on platforms for several weeks at a time. In addition, they may work 14 to 21 days straight and 12-hour shifts while on board. Workers’ lives depend on routine maintenance and strict adherence to safety guidelines.
Unfortunately, fires are among a common reason for oil rig explosions. As noted above, the smallest spark can ignite an oil rig. Fires can be the result of human action or natural events such as lightning. Oil rigs provide tremendous amounts of fuel for fires to burn. For example, rigs often store the oil and gas drilled from below the ocean floor. Because these facilities are so far out at sea, if a fire catches onboard, there is no help and there is also nowhere to go. Further, these fires are difficult to extinguish because of the significant amount of fuel supply for the fire.
Fortunately for oil rig workers, modern technology means blowouts happen less often. But these types of incidents still happen and can lead to severe injuries and death. When an oil rig is drilling, the systems monitoring the pressure must be carefully watched. Blowouts can occur:
- On the surface
Surface blowouts are the most dangerous to the workers on the oil rig. Surface explosions carry significant risks of ignition and explosion.
Oil rigs use all kinds of equipment to drill and keep the rig in working order. It’s important that each part of the rig is properly maintained and used properly. Offshore rig equipment is exposed to elements Equipment failure can occur for a number of reasons including:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Improper use
- Defective equipment
If safety is regarded at any point, it can lead to oil rig explosion injuries. Hazards associated with working on an oil rig can be reduced if the company ensures employees are properly trained and that equipment receives regular maintenance.
What kinds of injuries occur from offshore oil rig explosions?
Oil rig explosions can lead to life-altering and permanent injuries. Oil rig workers can suffer from a variety of injuries as a result of oil rig explosions:
- First, second or third-degree burns
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hearing loss
- Traumatic amputation
This is not an exhaustive list of injuries that offshore oil rig workers can suffer from. Discussing your situation with a legal expert will give you or your family the best shot at recovery.
What can an offshore injury attorney do for you?
If you were injured in an offshore oil rig explosion, you may be able to get help from a qualified offshore injury attorney. During a free consultation, The Carlson Law Firm can help you determine your next steps.
Get your employer to start paying for maintenance and recovery
When seeking the help of a specialized marine injury attorney, he or she will act as your representative in dealing with your employer and the marine insurance company. Your attorney will contact your employer and require that you begin making maintenance and recovery payments immediately. When they find out what they owe, most maritime employers start paying on time once they receive a lawsuit from an experienced attorney. Your attorney can also evaluate the number of your employer’s benefits to determine if your company owes you more. Further, an offshore oil rig explosion lawyer can help you determine what other legal rights for monetary damages you deserve under the law.
Force your employer to constitute for your past benefits
In addition to forcing your employer to pay for future maintenance and recovery, your attorney may request payment, possibly in a lump sum, of your past-due benefits. Your employer does not have the right to avoid payment simply because you chose not to treat it in good faith. An experienced maritime attorney will know how to calculate past due recovery and maintenance benefits and will ensure that you receive your full Jones Law entitlement.
Fight for additional financial compensation
Finally, in addition to guaranteeing maintenance and recovery payments, your attorney will also be able to assess whether you are entitled to additional compensation for Jones Act negligence or dangerous conditions on an unsafe vessel. Because maintenance and recovery benefits are limited, it is critical that all injured seamen get an attorney to review the specifics of their case. We can help you determine if unsafe conditions were caused by another company and contributed to your injuries. Your attorney can obtain full compensation for all your losses.
How can The Carlson Law Firm help?
At The Carlson Law Firm, we believe exclusively in customer service. This means that we always put the needs of our clients before ours. Our staff of experienced trial attorneys and case managers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you have about filing your offshore oil rig explosion claim.
There is no cost to speak to us. The Carlson Law Firm operates under a contingent fee. We only get our fees back if you receive compensation.
During your free legal consultation, we will answer your questions and provide you with clear advice on the next steps to take.