The recent Deepwater Horizon explosion and substantial oil spill causing significant damage to the Gulf of Mexico illuminated many of the dangerous conditions of drilling oil offshore. Eleven workers tragically lost their life and the massive explosion caused significant damage and injuries during and after the event.
Predominant Causes of Accidents on Oil Rigs
Common causes for an oil rig accident include:
- Defective safety equipment
- Hazardous weather condition
- Oil rig structural damage
- Explosions caused by gas leaks
- Defective machinery including wellheads and drilling rigs
Injured workers on floating rigs and jack up oil rigs are not entitled to the same benefits through workers’ compensation as those holding a job on land. Alternatively, the U.S. Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 to regulate financial compensation paid to seaman who are injured on the job. The law defines seamen as individuals working on boats and other vessels on intercostal waterways and the oceans along with those on oil rig platforms.
In addition to the Jones Act, the injured or killed worker’s families are also entitled to file a claim for compensation of any unearned future wages lost due to the injury or death. The family can seek financial compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act and High Seas Act without the need to prove negligence on the part of the employer, contractors, rig owners or others. However, filing a claim is time sensitive, so it is essential to speak with an attorney right away.
Maintenance and Cure: What an Injured Oil Rig Workers is Entitled to Under the Law
The protection laws provide two specific benefits to injured seaman that includes:
- The Right to Seek Maintenance and Cure – Under the Jones act, maintenance and cure refers to proper medical care to ensure healing in addition to living expenses while disabled.
- The Right to Seek Supplementary Benefits – If the injuries occur because of negligence, the victim is entitled to file a claim for supplementary compensation against an employer or any third party at fault. Negligence can include unseaworthiness of a vessel or the failure to provide the worker a safe environment.
Every employee on an oil rig understands the hostile work environment they deal with every working day. Usually, workers are injured by human error or negligence. Maritime workers are often injured by various common dangers on oil rig platforms that can include:
- Falling objects and inadequate fall protection
- Cathead slip
- Block or cable break
- Faulty pipe tongs and grating
- Defective equipment
- Exposure to chemicals
- Lack of a sufficiently trained crew
- Failure to design or implement safety protocols
- Failure to maintain equipment and machinery properly
- Neglecting to implement sufficient safety measures
- other negligence
Hiring an Attorney for an Injury Sustained While Working on an Oil Rig
If you are suffering injuries or a loved one has died in an accident involving an oil rig, it is essential to understand your legal rights when seeking compensation. This is because tort law involving maritime accidents is complicated. Obtaining compensation often requires the skills of a competent attorney who specializes in oil rig accidents. Hiring legal representation quickly is crucial because you only have a limited time to file a claim.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have extensive experience in maritime law. We provide legal services to file a personal injury claim for compensation or wrongful death lawsuit to hold those negligent accountable for their action after an oil rig accident. Our legal team at (888) 424-5757 offers a free initial consultation to discuss the merits of your claim. We can investigate the accident to determine what parties are at fault for your injuries.
In addition to obtaining compensation for your medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, pain and suffering, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers fight aggressively to ensure your lost wages are also recovered. If we can prove that your employer, the oil company or contractors violated safety regulations or failed in their efforts to ensure a safe work environment, you may be entitled to receive punitive damages too.