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 their families.
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:
Since 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.
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