Drilling Rig Explosion Injury Lawyer
As the economy continues its recovery from the "Great Recession"
of 2008, the rising demand for products derived from crude oil and natural
gas has led to an increase in both onshore and offshore drilling. The
"downside" to this increase in drilling activity is that it
has also led to an increase in the number of oilfield explosions that
have caused serious, or even fatal, injuries to oilfield workers.
On this page the drilling rig explosion injury at the
Doan Law Firm will review some of the causes of oil rig explosions. He will then review
some of the legal options that may be available to injured workers and
Causes of drilling rig explosions
As we have mentioned on other pages of this website, recent data on the
number of oilfield-related injuries is difficult to obtain for a number
of factors. In many oilfield accidents, the time required to complete
a thorough investigation of an accident can easily take a year or more.
However, a search of data published on the Internet suggests that many
drilling rig explosions are due to the following events.
A "blowout" occurs when a drill enters a pocket of oil or gas
that is contained under extreme temperature and pressure. Although modern
drilling rigs are usually capable of handling such conditions, should
a rig's pressure-regulation system encounter pressures or temperature
that are beyond its specifications, or if such a system was improperly
installed, it can lead to an explosive release of oil, gas, or even superheated
water and cause serious injury to anyone in the well's immediate area.
Flammable Gas Ignition
Crude oil and natural gas, primarily methane, are frequently encountered
together. If a spark from any source occurs in the presence of natural
gas, there is the chance that an explosion will occur.
When there is a buildup of static electricity in the atmosphere, there
is the possibility that lightning may occur. Since lightening can strike
from as far as 10 miles away, many drilling companies will suspend operations
until the danger of lightening has passed.
Types of injuries caused by drilling rig explosions
Drilling rig explosions may cause injuries that can range from minor to
catastrophic, and there are almost as many types of injuries as there
are drilling rigs! However, the more frequently encountered include:
any explosion involves the sudden release of chemical energy as heat, it isn't
surprising that burns are the most common type of injury encountered after
a drilling rig explosion. Given the environment in which such explosions
occur, all but the mildest of burns should be treated by a physician.
Inhalation of toxic gases
Gases such as methane, butane, and pentane are all present in natural gas.
In addition to their explosive properties, such gases will displace the
oxygen in the air. If left uncorrected, the lack of oxygen in the air
will cause a condition known as
hypoxia. Unless a victim of hypoxia is promptly given oxygen, there is a high
probability that he or she will suffer brain injury and the injury may
even prove to be fatal.
Drilling rigs contain hundreds of moving parts. If a worker's clothing
becomes ensnared by these moving pieces of machinery, it is likely that
the worker will suffer a very serious injury.
Drilling Rig Accidents and Workers' Compensation
When a worker is injured on the job, that worker is automatically eligible
to receive Worker's Compensation benefits through their state's
Workers' Compensation program. In general, these programs are "faultless."
This means that neither the worker or the employer is deemed to have caused
the injury through carelessness or negligence. The "downside"
of this arrangement is that, in order to receive benefits, the worker must
cede (give up) their right to sue their employer alleging that it was due to
the employer's negligence that the injury occurred.
By giving up their right to sue their employer, an injured worker
cannot be awarded "punitive" or "exemplary" damages. Since
such damages can only be awarded following a
civil lawsuit, an employer is essentially "immune" from being held
liable for negligence in Workers' Compensation cases. There are, however,
special cases where it may be possible to sue an employer.
If an injured worker can show that his or her employer
deliberately sought to harm the worker by creating a situation where it could have
reasonably foreseen that the worker would have injured, it
may be possible to sue the employer for damages. Since such cases are infrequent,
it is strongly advised that a Workers' Compensation lawyer be consulted
if such a lawsuit is being considered.
Contacting a drilling rig explosion lawyer
As we have seen on this page, and others, oil exploration and oil production
are hazardous occupations. Although modern technology and strict enforcement
of safety regulations have reduced the risks associated with working around
oil rigs, the danger is never far away.
If you, or a family member, have been injured as a result of an oil rig
explosion, you have the legal right to receive compensation for your injuries
and other losses. To ensure that you obtain a fair settlement of your
injury claim, you will need a lawyer who:
- is familiar with the oil and gas industry as a whole
- can identify obvious unsafe working conditions
- is familiar with the courts in the state where the injury happened
- understands Workmen's Compensation law
- ready and willing to fight for you right to receive justice for you losses
One such lawyer is the drilling rig explosion lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm, a nationwide personal injury law practice with offices in major cities
around the country.
When you contact the Doan Law Firm to arrange a
free review of your drilling rig explosion injury case your first consultation with
us is always free and does not obligate you to hire our firm as your legal
counsel. Should you desire to have our firm represent you in court, we
are willing to assume
full responsibility for preparing your drilling rig explosion injury case in exchange for
an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.