Oil workers typically understand that their job is dangerous. Safety training and safety gear is quite common on oil rigs to help prevent injuries, and millions of dollars are spent to make equipment and pumping technology safer. However, serious accidents can happen, resulting in widespread death and injury on oil rigs. Fortunately, oil rig explosions are not particularly common accidents. The Houston oil rig injury lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm explain.
How Many Oil Rig Explosions Happen Each Year?
Oil rig workers face some of the highest numbers of injuries for any profession in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 12 fatalities in the oil and natural gas industry in 2013, 18 in 2014, 6 in 2015, and 9 in 2016. There are no statistics for more recent years, but these statistics show how rare and sporadic deaths on oil rigs are.
As of 2016, the most recent year with available BLS injury statistics, the rate of injury (per 100 workers) is 0.9. With around 152,000 workers currently in 2018, this means around 136,800 injuries could be expected this year, based on projections from those 2016 rates.
These injuries commonly occur in more mundane accidents. Oil rig explosions are some of the most catastrophic oil disasters an oil rig can experience. Things like slip and falls and even small oil rig fires are far more common than explosions, which typically only occur in “perfect storm” situations where multiple instances of negligence amount to serious blowouts, safety device failures, and workplace injuries.
There are no good statistics on the number of oil rig explosions, but anecdotal evidence and reports on specific incidents are available. According to some sources, there were 16 major oil accidents in Texas in 2018. Most of these involve fires and blowouts, but most of these accidents were in land drilling, not on offshore rigs.
Suing for Serious Oil Rig Injuries in Texas
Oil rig workers face the second highest rate of injury, by industry, behind transportation workers. These workers are commonly injured by negligence. As mentioned, serious accidents like explosions, fires, and blowouts commonly happen only after a mix of problems, commonly resulting from the negligence of multiple parties.
If your employer or an oil rig owner is responsible for the injuries you face, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries. The basis of many of these lawsuits is “negligence,” meaning that the at-fault party violated some duty they owed you. With oil workers, this commonly means violating OSHA safety standards or failing to properly equip or train workers. It can also mean failing to properly inspect and repair machinery, shutoff valves, and other safety mechanisms.
Your ability to sue for negligence often depends on the specifics of your situation, but one major factor is where you work. Land-based oil workers are often held to follow Texas’ workers’ compensation laws, meaning they might be barred from filing a lawsuit and must rely on workers’ comp. for lost wages and medical expenses. However, if you work on an offshore rig, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit for offshore oil rig injuries.
Offshore oil workers are covered by maritime law instead of Texas law. This means that, under laws like the Jones Act, workers on oil rigs, oil tankers, oil ships, and oil barges may be entitled to sue their employer or the owner of the ship or rig for injuries.
Compensation for Oil Rig Explosion Injuries and Death
The injuries caused by oil rig explosions are often severe, and many of these accidents are deadly. Injured oil workers may be too hurt to return to work while facing high medical care costs. These workers and their families may be able to receive compensation for these harms and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages for medical expenses can be claimed to cover any medical treatment. This includes the cost of emergency medical transportation or medivac, emergency treatment, surgeries, skin grafts, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
Damages for lost wages can include wages lost during your recovery period as well as ongoing harms from reduced earning capacity. If your injury makes it impossible to return to work at all or forces you to take a lower paying job, you may be entitled to compensation for the reduced or lost wages.
Injuries from oil fires and explosions can be severe. Skin grafts are often required to treat burn injuries, and burns and grafts are some of the most painful and traumatic injuries and treatments. You may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you face.
If you lost a loved one in an oil disaster or oil rig explosion, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss, your loved one’s lost wages, their pain and suffering, their medical treatment, and any other losses you experience because of their wrongful death.
Call Our Dallas Oil Worker Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in an oil rig explosion or another oil disaster, call an Arlington TX personal injury lawyer at The Queenan Law Firm. Our attorneys offer free consultations to victims and their families. Call (817) 476-1797 today to schedule your consultation.