Oil Rig Explosion Lawyers Can Help You Get Compensation
When an oil rig explodes, the results are catastrophic and deadly, creating damage to the environment, businesses, wildlife, and workers and others living or working in the area. Oil rig workers have nowhere to run, and they are trapped amid the fire, smoke, and decaying integrity of the platform. Workers are often left permanently harmed and disabled and unable to return to work. Innocent victims who were close enough to the explosion to be injured suffer damages as well.
If you or a family member was injured or a loved one has died as the result of an oil rig explosion, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. In Texas, injured workers may be covered by Texas workers’ compensation, or compensation may be available through insurance, special funds that have been set up to compensate victims, or an individual or class-action lawsuit.
Many fires and explosions occur because companies are focused on profits rather than preventing accidents, and these companies should be held accountable for paying damages. However, the road to receiving compensation is not easy. Texas laws are complicated; large companies and their insurers have high-powered lawyers on their side working to deny claims or get you to settle for as little as possible; and accepting a special fund claim settlement can keep you from getting additional benefits. This is not something you should attempt to deal with on your own.
Fortunately, there is help available from the Houston oil rig injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We have more than 35 years of experience holding large corporations accountable for the harm they have created and fighting for maximum financial compensation for victims.
We provide a free consultation to evaluate your case and determine the best way to move forward, and there are no costs to you unless and until we win a settlement. Call us today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 and let us handle the legal requirements and details so you can concentrate on your recovery.
How a Houston Oil Spill Lawyer Can Help You
The experienced injury lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident and Injury Law know the law and the various means of getting compensation and holding companies accountable in order to lessen the chances of oil rig explosions in the future. When you retain our firm, we will start working for you immediately. This may include, for example:
- Meet with you to discuss how the accident happened, the injuries that resulted, and who might have been responsible
- Evaluate whether you have a valid case, what it may be worth, and what the best approach would be to hold the negligent parties legally responsible
- Conduct investigations, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and researching past records of similar corporate problems and wrongdoings
- Hire experts in the field to recreate how the explosion occurred and where there was negligence, and experts to testify as to the extent of your damages, how they negatively impact your life, and the type and costs of treatment you will need into the future
- Determine what type of claim you should make and file appropriate legal documents and demands for compensation
- Negotiate with insurance companies and opposition lawyers for a fair settlement
- Build your case and take it to court, if necessary, to aggressively fight for full compensation.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working on your case while evidence and witnesses are still available. Call today at (713) 973-8888.
Oil Rig Explosion Attorneys Discuss How Explosions Occur
There are many dangers lurking on every drilling platform that cause a wide range of accidents, from chemical spills, slips and falls, and being injured by heavy machinery like cranes and lifters. These accidents cause serious injuries, but explosions are particularly damaging.
Common causes of oil rig explosions in Texas include:
- Failure of equipment due to defective parts or poor maintenance
- Fracking accidents from blowouts, fires, and explosions after injecting pressurized water into deep boreholes to extract underground deposits of natural gas or oil from shale
- Blowouts of wells after tapping into highly-pressurized pockets of oil or gas that gush out uncontrollably and contribute to fires or explosions
- Unsafe work practices, such as using the wrong tools for the job that create sparks and fires that can ignite oil or natural gas if the work occurs in the wrong location
- Working in bad weather, such as during storms with strong winds and lightning that can ignite combustible materials and cause explosions.
While some explosions are no one’s fault, or may be caused by an act of nature, when negligence or fault is involved, the responsible parties should be held accountable.
Blowouts and the BP Oil Explosion
Blowouts occurs when a pocket of pressurized oil or gas is breached and uncontrolled as it rockets to the surface, ejecting material at high velocity hundreds of feet into the air. With modern blowout preventers and sophisticated pressure-monitoring technology, they aren’t as common, but when a blowout does occur on a platform, the result is often an oil rig explosion. The material inside a blowout is not only moving at deadly speed, capable of killing anyone in the way, but it is also highly flammable. Once it reaches the surface, it can be ignited by any open flame, or even a tiny spark, and the sudden combustion may lead to an oil rig explosion. This is what happened during the now infamous Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulted in 11 worker fatalities and many other serious injuries.
In that case, BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies, leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from the world’s biggest oil rig contractor, TransOcean, to search for oil in an area of the Gulf. BP hired Halliburton, an oil field services company, to help operate the rig and carry out the exploration. All these companies were potentially liable for damages resulting from the explosion.
It was found that BP managers pushed the platform’s drilling equipment too far and ignored pressure monitors that showed a buildup of pressure in the drilling head. The blowout-prevention technology in the drilling column was also in poor condition, so when a combination of methane gas suddenly streaked to the surface, there was nothing stopping it. Two days after the explosion, the rig capsized, spewing oil from a pipe into the water for 87 days, causing the release of an estimated 377,514 metric tons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to those injured and killed, the explosion and oil spill caused enormous damage to the environment, businesses, and individuals.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the case was largely settled when a federal District Judge approved the largest environmental damage settlement in United States history – $20.8 billion – on April 4, 2016.
The settlement ended all civil and criminal penalty claims against the owners and operators of the rig – BP, Anadarko, TransOcean, and Halliburton – under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act. It also included economic damage claims submitted by the five gulf states and their local governments. BP was also faced with growing private claim payments estimated at $14.8 billion in October 2016.
Oil Rig Injury Attorney in Houston Explains Legal Options
There are several approaches to getting compensation for injuries from an oil rig accident, depending on how the accident occurred and the various laws that apply in the specific situation.
For example, the Jones Act (46 U.S. Code § 30104) regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. According to the Act, if a seaman is injured in the course of employment, or if the seaman dies from the injury, the personal representative of the seaman may bring a civil lawsuit in federal district court or in state court against the employer for personal injury or wrongful death.
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides compensation to rig workers injured in on-the-job accidents on navigable waters of the United States or adjacent areas such as loading docks or harbors.
Workers whose employers carry Texas workers’ compensation insurance may qualify for benefits such as medical care and wage replacement, without having to prove anyone was at fault, if they suffer work-related injuries on an oil rig. However, workers’ comp does not provide benefits for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering; and if you receive workers’ comp, you cannot sue your employer, even if the employer’s negligence directly contributed to your injuries.
Optimum benefits are usually achieved in situations where you can file a lawsuit.
When Oil Rig Accident Attorneys Can File a Lawsuit
While workers’ comp generally protects employers from lawsuits by their employees, you may sue an employer for personal injury or wrongful death if their negligence caused the accident and they do not carry workers’ comp insurance or if certain maritime laws apply. Also, if there are third parties whose negligence contributed to your injuries, you may sue them as well.
Depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include:
- The owner or manager of the property or the oil rig
- Contractors, subcontractors, and their employers
- The manufacturer of the oil rig or its parts, if these were defective.
In a successful lawsuit, our oil rig injury lawyers can help recover compensation for both your economic and non-economic damages, as follows:
Economic damages for monetary expenses, such as:
- Cost of medical, hospital, rehabilitation, and nursing care resulting from injuries
- Loss of wages and earning capacity
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages for the damages that do not have a specific dollar value, but negatively impact your life, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress and PTSD
- Loss of consortium and enjoyment of life.
In some rare cases, when oil companies knowingly violate laws and place the health of the environment and people at risk, you may also receive punitive damages. These are meant to punish and make an example of a defendant due to especially reckless or egregious actions.
Compensation in Case of Wrongful Death
If the oil rig explosion caused a death, Texas statutes (Title 4, Chapter71, Subchapter A) allow a close family member (such as surviving spouses, children, and parents) or representative of the deceased’s estate to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. The death does not have to be deliberate or intentional to be wrongful; it only has to be shown to have occurred through some act of negligence.
Oil Rig Explosion Lawyers Must Prove Negligence
To win your case, our attorneys would have to prove the following:
- Duty – The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim not to cause harm.
- Breach – The defendant breached that duty by actions or failure to act.
- Cause – This breach caused the accident that resulted in your injury.
- Damages – You suffered damages as a result.
Proving negligence is a process that often involves conducting careful investigations, gathering evidence, and hiring experts in the field to show how the accident happened and who was at fault. Our oil rig injury attorneys have the resources and connections to find all liable parties and hold them accountable, as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement.
Call a Texas Oil Rig Explosion Lawyer for Help
Due to their great force, injuries from oil rig explosions can be catastrophic, resulting in severe burns, traumatic brain injuries, amputation and dismemberment, and death. As a result, awards for damages may range from the thousands to millions of dollars. With so much at stake, corporations and their insurance companies will often attempt to dodge liability in the aftermath of an accident.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, our team of lawyers and support staff know how to fight for your rights and a fair settlement. We have won many large settlements in this area. Some recent results include $1.32 million for a maritime incident resulting in the death of a dock worker, and $2.06 million for a refinery explosion where the plaintiff was injured and had surgery to his arm, shoulder, and neck. Let us represent you, too.
Don’t delay. Put our expertise to work for you right away through our free initial case review where we can evaluate your individual situation and provide answers to your questions. Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law now at (713) 973-8888 or 1 (800) 444-5000.