Were you injured while working on an offshore oil platform? If you answered yes, know that you are not alone and we can help you get compensation. Despite improvements in safety regulations, accidents in the oil and gas accidents are much more deadly than all other industries and have resulted in nearly 1,200 deaths in the U.S. between the years 2003 and 2013. Hazardous situations involving high, slippery decks, flammable materials, dangerous weather conditions, negligent behaviors and manufacturing defects are often contributing factors resulting in serious injuries or even death to workers. Different state and federal laws direct the types of personal injury or wrongful death claims oil platform workers and their family members can file. Injured parties and their surviving family members may be eligible to file a lawsuit against employers, ship owners, contractors, and equipment manufacturers for financial compensation after injuries or for their loss. The type of claim and specific maritime law that covers the claim depend on the type of oil platform the injury occurred on and the specific incident that occurred.
Multiple types of oil platforms are used to extract, process, store and drill for oil and natural gas offshore. Oil platforms are either permanently fixed to the ocean floor or may be moveable or floating. These details may seem unimportant, but they dictate the type of claim, scope of financial compensation and coverage you may be eligible for. An experienced oil platform accident lawyer can help determine your eligibility to file a claim.
Laws for Permanent Vs. Moveable Oil Platforms Claims
Oil platforms can be separated into two major groups: those that are permanently fixed to the ocean floor and moveable vessels. In the case of permanent platforms, The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act dictates that injuries or deaths occurring on these rigs be governed using the Civil Code of the closest state. The act essentially considers permanent rigs to be “artificial islands” and extends the protection of The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to oil and gas workers stationed on these rigs. In the case of moveable platforms, workers are classified as “seamen” and are eligible to file claims under The Jones Act.
Which Offshore Oil Platforms are Considered Permanent?
The following oil platforms are permanently fixed to the ocean floor and are legally considered “artificial islands”. This makes injury claims on permanent oil platforms eligible for coverage under the LHWCA. Permanent oil platforms include:
- Shallow water complex – complexes supported by concrete or steel legs and composed of independent platforms performing different functions yet all connected with gangway bridges.
- Gravity base complex – platforms of these types are stabilized with massive pillars which anchor the structure in place with their extreme weight.
- Compliance towers – designed for deep water conditions and supported on flexible steel towers which allow the structure to absorb the motion of wind and water.
Regardless of which type of platform you were on when the accident occurred, we high recommend hiring a maritime attorney for injury lawsuits.
Which Offshore Oil Platforms are Considered Moveable?
Some oil platforms are intended to be moved from one location to another, making work injuries on these platforms eligible for coverage under the Jones Act in most cases. A few examples include:
- Tension leg platforms – cables are used to tether these giant floating structures to the ocean floor, anchoring them in place.
- SPAR platforms – large cylindrical floating hulls which support a single platform tethered to the ocean floor are known as SPAR platforms.
- Jackup drill rigs – supported by legs which can be raised and lowered as needed, these movable structures are used to drill for oil and gas resources and are the most common type of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs).
Who is Liable When Workers Suffer Injuries or Fatalities?
Any act of negligent behavior on the part of an employer opens the possibility of a personal injury or wrongful death claim against such person as well as the company they represent. However, crane manufacturers, pipe manufacturers, and contracted companies or independent contractors may also be held liable for damages after an injury. Common oil platform injuries include head and spine injuries, broken bones resulting from a fall, serious burns from fire or explosions, respiratory ailments as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals, and loss of a limb or even death due to crushing forces.
Injuries sometimes occur in the water surrounding offshore platforms, when support boats capsize or in commercial diving accidents.
Injuries Caused by Defective Equipment
If it is determined that a manufacturer produced a component designed for an oil platform that was of an inherently dangerous design, or the defective equipment was improperly manufactured, they may be held liable under Chapter 82 of Texas Civil Code. Sellers of defective oil platform equipment are required to inform potential buyers of important warnings and the appropriate use of each item. If a seller is determined to have misrepresented the product, he or she may also be held liable for damages.
I Was Injured in an a Platform Accident Offshore. Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Get Compensated for Medical Bills?
Although sometimes your employer might subscribe to workers compensation, or may offer you a small sum to compensate you for the cost of your medical bills, you should hire an attorney to review your case and see if you have a potential claim for more than just doctors’ bills. If we take your case, you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. We will only get paid if we win a settlement for you in court.
Contact Us to File an Oil Platform Injury Lawsuit
Call Baron & Budd today at 866-974-0818 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our injury attorneys for offshore oil platform accidents. We will discuss your case and determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for your injuries caused by negligence, faulty products, improper safety training, or any other reason. We can help.