Oil Rig Accident

Oil rig accidents can result in life-changing, disastrous injuries and more. If you have been injured after working on an offshore oil rig, Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is here to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

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How An Attorney Can Help After Your Oil Rig Accident

Oil Rig Accident | Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

The hazardous environment of offshore oil rigs demands strict safety protocols. Despite this, accidents happen, leading to injuries or even fatalities.

Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are deeply committed to understanding the intricacies of this industry, ensuring that we provide the most knowledgeable and effective legal support possible. From the oil exploration and extraction processes to the handling of specific operational challenges, our expertise covers a broad spectrum of needs that people who have worked on oil rights may have.  

Our dedication to excellence in the overall legal landscape ensures that we stand ready to support our clients at every turn, safeguarding their interests and contributing to the sustainable and responsible development of oil resources.  

If you’ve been in an oil rig accident, we believe that teaming up with an attorney can help you by providing:

  • Legal Knowledge 
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Focus and Dedication 
  • Commitment to Compensation 
  • Motivation 
  • Free Consultation

Offshore Oil Rigs and their Risks

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that more than 4,000 oil workers are injured and over 100 are killed each year. These statistics highlight the danger of working on an oil rig and their existence as perpetually hazardous places to work. Many factors add to the risk associated with offshore oil rig work, including:  

  • High-pressure systems: Some oil rig accidents happen due to high-pressure systems, such as drilling equipment and pipelines, which can lead to catastrophic accidents if not maintained and managed. 
  • Flammable substances: The presence of highly flammable liquids like oil and gas increases the risk of fires and explosions, which can lead to deaths and injuries on oil rigs.  
  • Heavy machinery and equipment: Oil rigs rely on complex machinery and equipment, including drilling rigs, cranes, pumps, and heavy pipelines. Operation, maintenance, and movement of this equipment class require trained skill and the strict following of safety protocols.
  • Harsh weather conditions: Oil rigs are often located in offshore or remote areas, exposing workers to harsh weather conditions such as storms, high winds, and extreme temperatures. These conditions endanger oil rig workers’ safety, making work more difficult and increasing the chance of an accident. 
  • Chemical and toxic exposure: Oil rig workers may encounter dangerous chemicals and toxins, including drilling fluids, solvents, and gasses. Exposure to these can lead to concerning conditions, such as respiratory problems, chemical burns, or long-term illnesses.  

Oil rig accidents can be life-changing accidents. Common oil rig injuries can range from burns and fractured bones to more catastrophic injuries like spinal cord injuries or TBIs. The most unfortunate oil accidents can result in death.  

Notable Oil rig Accidents

At Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we understand the risks and complexities associated with working on offshore oil rigs and platforms. These colossal structures are essential for extracting and processing oil and natural gas, but pose significant dangers to the workers aboard and must be held accountable when accidents happen.

While specific case details can vary, several notable lawsuits have emerged over the years, emphasizing the risks involved and the importance of workplace safety. Here are summaries of a few notable cases: 

Deepwater Horizon Explosion of 2010  

One of the most infamous incidents in the oil industry is the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers and serious injuries to several others. The rig, operated by BP, experienced a blowout, leading to a massive explosion and subsequent oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The incident led to numerous lawsuits from injured workers and families of the deceased, focusing on negligence and safety violations. These legal actions resulted in BP and other companies paying billions in fines, compensation, and cleanup costs. 

Piper Alpha Disaster of 1988 

The Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea, operated by Occidental Petroleum, was the site of one of the deadliest accidents in the industry when a series of explosions and fires led to the death of 167 men. The subsequent inquiry led to significant changes in safety regulations for the North Sea oil industry. While the legal system in the UK, where the disaster occurred, differs from the U.S., the tragedy highlighted the potential for catastrophic accidents in offshore oil extraction and led to compensation claims from families of the deceased and injured workers. 

Usumacinta Jack-Up Rig Accident of 2007 

This accident involved a collision between the Usumacinta jack-up rig and the Kab-101 platform in the Bay of Campeche, off the coast of Mexico, leading to the deaths of 22 workers. The incident, caused by high winds and waves, resulted in a significant oil spill and numerous injuries. Lawsuits filed in the aftermath focused on the rig’s owner, the Mexican state oil company Pemex, and the lack of adequate safety measures and emergency response plans. 

These cases underscore the inherent risks of working on oil rigs, where the combination of heavy machinery, flammable materials, and often remote locations can lead to serious accidents. Cases like this also highlight the legal recourse available to workers and their families in the event of injury or death, emphasizing the importance of safety standards, proper training, and emergency preparedness in preventing future tragedies. 

If any of these scenarios sound like what you have been through in an oil rig accident, call Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys today.  

Offshore Oil Rigs: A Deeper Understanding

Offshore oil rigs and platforms are large, complex structures designed to drill for, remove, process, and temporarily store oil or natural gas until the material can be transported for refining and eventual sale. While some rigs can float or move under their own power, others are permanently attached to the sea floor.

Some of the different types of offshore oil rigs include:

Fixed Platforms – Fixed Platforms are large, permanent structures with legs made of steel and/or concrete. These legs are driven directly into the seafloor. Fixed platforms typically consist of a main deck to support the drilling rig itself, along with production facilities and living quarters for the crew.

Tension Leg Platforms– Tension Leg Platforms, also known as TLPs, are floating structures tethered to the seafloor in order to minimize vertical movement. TLPs are used to drill at depths of up to 6,000 feet.

Compliant Towers—Compliant Towers are slender, flexible steel structures designed to support a drilling deck and production facilities at depths of up to 3,000 feet.

Semi-Submersibles—Semi-submersibles are platforms fitted with buoyant hulls that allow them to float on water and be easily transported from location to location. They can be kept stationary during drilling and production either with ropes and chains or through the use of dynamic positioning technology. These rigs are designed to operate at depths of up to 10,000 feet.

Spars– Spars are generally secured to the seabed just like Tension Leg Platforms (TLPs), but use ordinary mooring lines as opposed to vertical tension tethers. Some spars can operate at depths up to 8,000 feet. There are three types of spars, including:

  • Conventional Spar– a one-piece unit designed with a cylindrical hull.
  • Truss Spar– a multi-piece design that features an upper buoyant hull called the “hard tank” connected to the bottom, ballasted soft tank by a number of trusses.
  • Cell Spar– a platform constructed from several vertical cylinders.

Drillships—Drillships are ocean-going vessels designed with drilling rigs onboard. They are often used to explore for oil and gas in deep water or as platforms for scientific research. While exploring, these maritime vessels are kept in place through the use of dynamic positioning technology. Drillships can operate at depths of up to 12,000 feet.

Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading Systems—FPSOs are large single-hulled structures often shaped like ships. They house processing facilities for oil and gas produced by production platforms and are typically moored to specific locations for long periods of time.

Jack-Up Rigs—Jack-up rigs, also known as Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), are moveable platforms fitted with legs that can be lowered to the seabed to lift the rig above the water. They can function at depths of up to 550 feet.

Finding the Right Oil Rig Accident Attorney

No matter what kind of rig you or a loved one worked on, you deserve to have someone on your side to help you seek justice after an oil rig accident. 

If you need an attorney who understands oil rig accidents, look no further than Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. The experienced lawyers at our firm provide robust legal support to individuals and families affected by oil rig accidents and injuries in the high-risk oil industry.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Explore our FAQ to get the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about oil rig accidents.

What are common causes of oil rig accidents?

Oil rig accidents can occur due to a variety of factors including equipment failure, explosions, falls, fires, and exposure to harmful chemicals. Poor maintenance, inadequate safety protocols, improper training, and human error are often underlying causes. Understanding the specific cause of an accident is crucial for determining liability and pursuing a claim.

What should I do immediately after an oil rig accident?

Your first priority should be to seek medical attention, regardless of how minor your injuries may seem. Report the incident to your supervisor or the rig’s safety officer as per the safety protocols of your workplace. Document everything about the accident and your injuries, and gather contact information from witnesses. These steps are essential for your health and any future claims.

Who can be held liable for injuries sustained in an oil rig accident?

Liability in oil rig accidents can be complex, potentially involving multiple parties including the rig owner, operators, contractors, equipment manufacturers, and others. The specifics of your case, including the cause of the accident and the contractual relationships between parties on the rig, will determine who might be liable.

What types of compensation can I seek if I’m injured in an oil rig accident?

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages, depending on the circumstances of the accident. If the accident was due to negligence, further compensation might be available under personal injury law.

Why is it important to hire a lawyer experienced with oil rig accidents?

Oil rig accident claims can be exceptionally complex, involving intricate legal and regulatory issues. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with the maritime and oil industry regulations and will have the expertise to navigate the legal challenges unique to the oil sector. They can effectively manage the investigation, handle negotiations with large oil companies and their insurers, and ensure that your rights are fully protected.

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