Inherent in the profession of the oil industry worker are hazards that constantly put the health and safety of the individual at risk. However, when it comes to oil rig workers, it can be said that the hazards are significantly greater, if only for the fact that the same job must then be completed on an isolated platform often located many miles from shore.
As experienced maritime personal injury attorneys, the Haggard Law Firm knows the risks that oil rig workers face on a daily basis. And while there appear to be one or two major oil rig accidents which garner public attention every decade, less-publicized incidents occur almost regularly.
Tragically, each one of these incidents can signify severe personal injury for oil rig workers - that is, when they're lucky enough to survive. In this article, we discuss some of the most well-understood causes of oil rig accidents, the most common injuries, and the legal avenues for compensation available to victims of oil rig accidents.
Given the fact that oil rigs are tasked with extracting a highly-flammable material from deep below the surface, the biggest concern aboard an offshore oil-drilling platform is usually an explosion.
Oil is generally extracted at very high pressure which means that any kind of accident can cause the volatile fluid to be released with a great amount of force. If at the point of inadvertent release, the extracted oil happens to meet a spark, then a colossal and fiery explosion can result. Aside from causing severe burns to the workers, such an explosion can compromise the structural integrity of the vessel.
Explosions can occur for a variety of reasons. They may be caused by faulty or poorly maintained equipment. Likewise, they may also be the result of inadequate training of personnel who may ingeniously exceed the tolerances for which the specialized equipment is rated. Lastly, explosions and other oil rig accidents may come as a result of inclement weather, a factor that must always be taken into consideration when laboring offshore.
Tragically, many oil rig accidents can be traced back to mistakes made by the oil rig personnel themselves. This in no way places blame on the victims who often suffer the consequences of failures atop oil platforms. However, the long hours and strenuous work completed by these bold individuals can cause them to make mistakes. Responsibility for avoiding such mistakes often lies on the employer who may be required to ensure breaks and proper rest between shifts, but they may simply fail to enforce such safety guidelines.
The types of injuries experienced by oil rig workers are about as varied as the hazards encountered on the offshore platform itself. However, some of the most common ones include:
Oil rig workers may find some calm in knowing that, while regular workers' comp does not apply to them, there are other maritime injury laws that were put in place to protect them if they are injured or worse.
Specific pieces of legislation including the Jones Act, the Death On The High Seas Act (DOHSA), and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) may all play a part in helping victims of oil rig accidents to be compensated.
It's critical to comprehend that, while they can be generous, the aforementioned are complicated parts of the law. The insurance companies responsible for paying out injured workers' benefits understand this and they may use it to their advantage. Oil rig injuries can be catastrophic in nature, this entails substantial compensation for victims and their families. But when it comes to saving money and protecting their bottom line, insurance providers are likely to fight tooth and nail.
For this reason, victims of an oil rig accident, or surviving family members of the same, should seek an experienced team of legal professionals who understand all aspects of the law. Most importantly, the oil rig accident attorney you chose to represent you should have experience with cases of this nature, and be able to overcome the legal obstacles of loopholes placed by those whose goal is to reduce a victim's total compensation.
The Haggard Law Firm is experienced in all manner of maritime injury case, and if you or a family member were hurt or killed on an oil platform, they can help you fight for your deserved compensation.
Through a free case review, victims of oil rig accidents can get the answers to the legal questions they have for free and at no obligation. Unsure whether you have a valid case? Contact us today, schedule your free consultation, and get started on the path to justice.