The offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf Region employs thousands of roughnecks, roustabouts and other maritime workers who are at risk of catastrophic injuries in oil rig explosions and accidents. Located in New Orleans, Koch & Schmidt provides aggressive representation to injured oil rig workers throughout Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Region.
Laws That Protect Oil Rig Workers
Our legal team is well-versed in the applicable maritime laws governing offshore oil rig explosions and accidents, including:
- The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920)
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
- The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
The remedies available to injury victims depend on the type of oil rig on which the accident occurred, such as:
- Fixed Platforms
- Compliant Towers
- Semi-Submersible Platforms
- Jack-Up Drilling Rigs
- Floating Production Systems
- Tension-Leg Platform
- Gravity-Based Structure
- Spar Platforms
- Normally Unmanned Installations
- Conductor Support Systems
Because an oil rig on a fixed platform is not considered a vessel, for example, it may not be possible to pursue a Jones Act claim, in which case remedies may be available under other federal laws as well as state workers’ compensation programs.
On the other hand, seamen who are injured on jackup rigs or other types of mobile vessels (e.g. semi-submersible oil rigs and drill ships) are covered by the Jones Act. In addition, injured oil rig workers may also have viable claims under general maritime law, such as unseaworthiness and maintenance and cure.
To qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, an oil rig worker in the Gulf Region must spend more than 30 percent of his or her time in the service of a rig on navigable waters. Oil rig workers qualify because they often work long hours drilling or maintaining the rig, and any work is considered to be in the service of a vessel. When you consult Koch & Schmidt, we will explore all of your options for compensation.
Common Oil Rig Accidents
Although an oil rig is an inherently dangerous environment, accidents are typically caused by negligence. Common oil rig explosions and accidents include:
- Oil Rig Fires — Oil and chemicals used on oil rigs are extremely flammable and must be properly secured and handled. Chemicals that are spilled or exposed to oxygen can ignite fires that that could have been prevented had proper safety measures been followed. A spark from a defective power tool or faulty electrical wiring can also cause an oil rig fire.
- Blowouts — Although technology exists to monitor well pressure, blowouts can occur when excessive pressure causes oil or gas to erupt from a well, resulting in an accident, including an oil rig explosion.
- Equipment malfunctions — Valves, alarms, separators, blowout preventers and other equipment must be properly maintained because increased usage and exposure to the sea elements make them susceptible to malfunctions. Unfortunately, energy companies often put profits ahead of worker safety by not replacing outdated equipment to avoid shutting down rigs for maintenance.
- Negligence — An employer can be held liable for failing to implement adequate safety measures as well as the negligent conduct of oil rig workers such as engineers, maintenance technicians, production technicians and other individuals who are responsible for the safety of the rig.
Regardless of the cause of the oil rig accident that resulted in your injuries, our maritime attorneys will fight to help you obtain compensation that considers all your future medical and financial needs.
Oil Rig Explosion Injuries
Oil right accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, such as:
Burn injuries are some of the most painful injuries to endure, particularly third and fourth degree burns that often result in permanent damage to tissue and bones.
If an explosion occurs, equipment on the rig could become airborne, putting workers at risk of traumatic brain injuries from falling debris.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Falling debris, or other oil rig accidents can damage the spine, nerves in the spinal canal, and vertebrae, often resulting in paralysis (paraplegia, quadriplegia).
Loss of Limb
In an oil rig fire or explosion, the force of the blast and rapidly traveling airborne debris can sever appendages.
Our legal team is dedicated to helping victims of catastrophic injuries obtain just compensation. We offer free consultations and will not charge any attorneys’ fees until we recover for you.
Contact Our Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Oil Rig Accident Attorneys
At Koch & Schmidt, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured oil rig and maritime workers throughout Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Region. When oil rig workers are subjected to hazardous working conditions that result in injuries, we believe responsible parties must be held accountable. We know that being injured in an oil rig accident can be life-altering and will help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can get started on your case. Call our office today for a free consultation.