Offshore Oil Rig, Platform, and Equipment Accidents: What You Need To Know | Jim Adler & Associates
Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
I. Oil rigs, platforms and equipment accidents and injuries
Drilling for oil and natural gas is risky work. Oil and gas employees use complicated, heavy and dangerous machinery to drill and extract these highly sought-after resources deep below the earth’s surface. Whether offshore on a jack-up rig, a semi sub (semi-submersible rig), a drillship in the Gulf of Mexico, or in the oil fields of West Texas or Oklahoma – oil and gas workers across the country know they have some of the most dangerous jobs in the nation.

That is why companies and rig workers have to exercise extreme caution at every step of the drilling process in order to avoid tragedy. Unfortunately, these big oil and gas businesses are known to cut corners to save time and money. And when they do, they put the lives of workers and local communities at risk.

If you or a loved one were hurt or killed in an oil or gas-related accident you may have a legal cause of action.

II. What can I do after an oilfield accident?
There are three ways you can proceed legally if you or a loved one have been injured in an offshore oil or gas rig, platform or equipment-related accident.

  1. A common question our clients have is whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim. In Texas, workers’ comp provides benefits that can cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. It is a no-fault system, which means that it doesn’t matter who was to blame for the accident and resulting injuries or death.

    The first problem with workers’ comp is that it often falls short of taking care of the worker and their family’s needs during, and after, the oil and gas work-related injury or wrongful death.

    The second problem with workers’ comp is that in Texas employers aren’t required to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. That means that if you or a loved one were injured or even killed in an oil rig accident or explosion, then your employer may or may not have workers’ comp to help you pay for the mounting medical bills and lost wages that resulted from your injuries.

  2. So, another option is to go ahead and try to sue your employer directly for your injuries. For this you will need to be able to prove your employer was to blame for your injuries, or one of your colleagues at work was negligent and their lack of care led to your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one.

    Suing your employer is difficult because big, powerful oil and gas companies usually have big, powerful legal teams and tough insurance agents working around the clock to make sure that you give up on, or lose, your lawsuit and that you get the smallest insurance settlement possible if they do payout.

  3. The last option could also be your best option: suing another party that might be partially or wholly responsible for your injuries after an oil rig, platform or equipment accident. This is also known as a third-party lawsuit.

    A third-party lawsuit could also be pursued in addition to a claim for workers comp (if you are eligible and your employer has workers comp insurance, for example). In other words, by filing for workers comp you can still sue a third party for their contribution to damages from your injuries or loss; so, you can do both.

    While big oil and gas companies might try to bury you in paperwork or overwhelm you with fancy lawyers, pursuing a third-party cause of action (possibly in addition to workers comp) might be your best bet to get the financial help you need from parties other than your employer that are partly, or entirely, to blame for damages from your injuries.

III. Who can I sue for my oil field, rig and drillship injuries?
The list of people you can sue for oil and gas-related injuries is long. Employers, subcontractors, providers and other companies involved in the oil and gas industry are usually “lawyered up”. That means only a highly experienced, hardworking legal team with in-depth knowledge of complex federal and state laws will be able to get you a favorable settlement or jury verdict if your case ends up going to trial.

If your legal team decides to go ahead with a third-party lawsuit, some of the parties that can be sued after an oil rig or platform accident might include:

  • Oil rig owners, manufacturers and maintenance companies: inadequate rig maintenance, faulty equipment or defective design can lead to blowouts, fires, collapses, falls and other drilling accidents. If this is the case, then accident victims might be able to file a claim against the rig owner, manufacturer, a parts manufacturer or the company responsible for the rig, platform, semi sub or drillship repairs.
  • Contractors and subcontractors: If your injuries resulted from someone else’s negligence who isn’t your employer but subcontracted work for your employer, then you may have a cause of action against that person and the company they work for.
  • The landowner: Oil companies often lease their land from third-party owners. In some cases, these landowners are held responsible for injuries resulting from dangers on their land that they knew about or should have known about but didn’t.
  • Trucking companies, shipping companies, vehicle and parts manufacturers: For those in the industry oil and gas trucking accidents are a well-known hazard of the job. Combining poorly made, maintained or loaded trucks with flammable substances is a recipe for disaster.
If you or someone you know was hurt or killed in a trucking accident on an oil field or coming to or from a rig or drillship, then you might be able to file a lawsuit against the trucking company, shipping company, truck manufacturer, truck parts manufacturer, or another third party.

When you call 1-800-505-1414 or contact us online for your free case review, we will take a close look at your case and help you identify all of the potential parties that might owe you compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses. Remember, our clients don’t pay unless we win because our fees only come from a favorable settlement or jury verdict — never your wallet.

Your tough, smart lawyers at Jim Adler & Associates have over 30 years of experience hammering insurance companies and third-parties that don’t want to pay their fair share. We can help you recover from your losses and rebuild your future. We’re a family law firm so let our family help your family – you’re important to us and that’s just how we’ll treat you.
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