Working on an oil rig comes with certain risks. Though quite rare, the risk of a fire on an oil rig is always a possibility. Steps are taken and security measures are put in place to help prevent or immediately stop fires, but there is always a chance of a serious blowout or another accident that can cause serious fires.
If you or a loved one worked on an oil rig and was injured in a fire, talk to an attorney about your case. Serious injuries from burns and smoke inhalation can make it impossible to return to work, potentially leaving you with expensive medical bills and lost income. For help with your case, contact The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Dallas oil rig fire attorneys may be able to help you file a claim for compensation. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at (817) 476-1797.
How Do Oil Rig Fires Happen?
On an oil rig, many precautions are taken to avoid sparks and open flames that can set off oil fires. When the oil in a well is exposed during certain steps of the drilling or pumping process, the fumes and exposed oil can be ignited by even the slightest spark. If this oil were to catch fire, it would be extremely difficult to put out the flames, as the fire has an enormous source of oil to fuel it. Generally, safety procedures prevent fires, but the following are all examples of serious dangers and instances of negligence that can produce fires on an oil rig:
Most serious oil rig fires are caused by dangerous blowouts. If oil lines and valves fail, safety mechanisms should kick in to close the well and prevent additional leakage. However, famous oil rig disasters have been caused by additional mechanical and safety failures that allowed a blowout to catch fire and continue burning oil, causing explosions and serious injuries to nearby workers.
Some tools used on an oil rig have the change of producing sparks which could ignite oil. Especially at particularly dangerous steps in the process, workers might use tools made with different materials or coated in wax to help prevent sparking. If a tool spark catches oil or oil fumes on fire, it could produce a localized fire that can cause the worker and other nearby workers serious injuries. Many of these fires would hopefully be contained and suppressed before the entire rig or well could be affected.
Not every fire on an oil rig is caused by oil catching fire. Many of the tools used in oil drilling and pumping are heavy machines that require gas or electrical power. Drills and other tools produce an enormous amount of friction while moving through rock and mud, and other tools typically have internal resistance which causes the power tools to heat up. Mechanical failures, especially in equipment that is not properly maintained, can produce fires or cause burn injuries to operators.
Many smaller fires are caused by everyday accidents that workers produce through negligence or inattention. Some oil ships and oil rigs allow smoking, especially in residential areas of the rig. Failing to properly handle or put out cigarettes or smoking in bed after a long shift can lead to accidental fires. Additionally, other accidents in crew quarters involving cooking or microwaving can cause serious injuries and produce accidental fires.
Suing for Injuries from an Offshore Oil Rig Fire
Offshore oil rigs are surrounded by water, but it can still be extremely difficult to prevent and put out fires. When serious oil rig fires do occur, crewmembers and workers are often injured or killed. These injuries or wrongful deaths often entitle the victims or their families to sue for damages.
Many workers in Texas are subject to workers’ compensation rules that require them to file their work injury cases through that program. However, federal law and maritime law often allow injured offshore oil workers to sue for their injuries. To win a lawsuit against your employer or the rig owner for the injuries you faced, you must show four elements of your case:
- The rig owner or employer owed you a duty. This can be the duty to properly train you, provide you with safety gear, or to properly outfit the ship/rig with fire extinguishers, for example.
- The rig owner or employer breached that duty. If they failed to follow the duty you allege, they have committed an act of negligence.
- The breach of duty caused your injuries. Any injuries you suffer as a result of their negligence are their fault.
- You suffered damages the court can compensate you for. This includes things like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the harms a family faces after losing a loved one.
If you can prove these four elements in court, you should be able to recover the damages you suffered.
Dallas Offshore Oil Rig Injury Attorney for Oil Rig Fires
If you were injured in an oil rig fire or a loved one was killed because of negligent training, equipment failures, or other issues on an oil rig, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. The Queenan Law Firm fights to hold oil rig owners and employers responsible for the injuries their crews and workers suffered from serious oil rig fires. For a free consultation on your case and help learning more about your potential claim, contact our Dallas offshore oil rig fire lawyers today at (817) 476-1797, or contact us online.