Besides being a rich source of wildlife diversity, the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is also a significant source of oil and gas for the entire country. As of 2012, it was estimated that there nearly 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf. With a large increase in offshore oil production has come a significant increase in the number of oil rig accidents. Each year, there are about 12,000 worker injury accidents on offshore oil rigs and most were due to non-compliance with rules designed to make rig workers safe.
The job of an oil rig worker is dangerous, even under the best of circumstances. While a lot of attention was paid to the Infamous Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, which is better known for the massive BP oil spill back in 2010, it also left 11 workers dead and 17 others injured. The fact is, accidents happen too often, and they have a number of causes. Among the most frequent accidents to happen include everything from slips and falls, to struck-by accidents, blowouts, equipment malfunctions, electrocution, oil rig collapses or malfunctions, fires, explosions and even transportation accidents involving boats and helicopters.
Accidents on oil rigs can lead to many types of serious injuries, including broken bones, serious burns, amputations, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. While some oil rig workers recover within a few weeks, months or years, many others suffer debilitating, sometimes permanent injuries that require many years of treatment and rehabilitation just to get back to being close to normal. In some cases, such accidents lead to a wrongful death.
In many cases, these accidents are preventable and they occur due to someone else’s negligence. These types of cases are very complex and require a thorough investigation into what happened and to discover which parties are responsible. Often, employers and supervisors fail to follow proper regulations and safe practices, but there are often third-parties who are also responsible. For example, perhaps maintenance was supposed to be performed by a third-party service provider and it either wasn’t performed properly or it wasn’t performed at all. Perhaps a piece of equipment malfunctioned because it was defective. It’s possible for such a third-party to be held liable.
There are also several legal structures that apply to working at sea that don’t necessarily apply to those oil and gas workers who labor onshore; maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act and others specifically protect offshore maritime workers. Therefore, in order to recover for all losses and damages, you will need an attorney with a strong knowledge of maritime and workplace safety laws, and the experience to know how to apply them and to access the best experts and offshore investigators available. The offshore oil and gas attorneys at Hoffoss Devall have the skills you need to get everything you’re entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation.