Do you have questions about your legal rights after being injured as a rig worker?

  • How can I receive financial compensation?
  • What expenses will my benefits cover?
  • Can I sue my employer or rig operator?
  • Can I sue the owner of the vessel?
  • When should I talk to a lawyer?

Contact one of our experienced maritime lawyers to learn more about your rights in a free consultation.

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Our experienced maritime work injury lawyers can help you secure the financial compensation you deserve.

Laurence Banville
"Thank You" I wasn’t sure of my rights after I got hurt, but they were there to help.
The Legal Herald Reviewed by Tristan Jenkins on .
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Offshore oil rigs are without question some of the most hazardous workplaces in the world. These environments have a wide range of inherent occupational hazards which often result in serious injuries or deaths. While disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010 are rare, the results are devastating. But it doesn’t take a full-scale disaster for oil rig workers to suffer serious injuries on the job. Every year, there are countless smaller oil rig accidents, injuries, and deaths that don’t make the headlines.

Oil rig operators, employers, and their employees are all aware of the risks of working on an oil rig. But operators and employers have continuously failed to take worker safety seriously. When an employee suffers a serious injury or fatal accident because of employer or operator negligence, these parties may be held financially liable in a Jones Act claim.

Which Rig Employees Are Covered?

In order to file a Jones Act claim against your employer or a rig operator, you must meet the Jones Acts’ definition of a “seaman”. This largely depends on the structure you work on. If your rig is floating and situated offshore, you would be eligible to file a claim. Workers on stationary oil rigs or in natural gas wells would not be covered by this Act, but would likely have the option to file a state-level workers’ compensation claim.

If you believe your accident could have been prevented if your employer had paid more attention to safety standards, you should consider meeting with a maritime injury lawyer to discuss your case. These claims often involve powerful oil and gas companies with experienced legal teams. Maritime law is an extremely complex practice, and these cases usually require the assistance of a specialist in this field.

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Dangers Faced By Rig Workers

Oil rig workers are regularly exposed to a variety of unavoidable risks, including:

  • Fatigue – Most oil rig employees work 12-hour shifts in extremely hazardous and physically demanding work conditions. This can easily lead to physical and mental fatigue, which increases the risk of causing an accident.
  • Combustible materials – Rigs all have combustible materials on board which could erupt in a fire or explosion if something goes wrong, such as an employee mistake or a piece of malfunctioning machinery.
  • Cranes and heavy equipment – Cranes are constantly swinging heavy equipment overhead, and occasionally workers may be struck by this equipment if the operator makes a mistake.
  • Isolated from emergency responders – Most oil rigs operate dozens of miles off the coast, isolated from civilization. If an accident happens, it will likely take a long time before the Coast Guard can respond to a call for help.

While some of the risks may be unavoidable, that doesn’t mean injuries are inevitable. Most oil rig work accidents could be prevented if employers and operators made safety their #1 priority.

Examples Of Negligenceoffshore oil rigs

In order to file a Jones Act claim, you must prove that your employer or the rig operator contributed to your injury through negligence. Either of these parties may be considered negligent when they fail to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their oil rig employees. Employers may also be held liable when the negligent mistake of one or more employees causes other employees to get injured.

Common forms of negligence in Jones Act claims include:

  • Failure to follow fire safety precautions
  • Fires caused by another worker’s mistake
  • Accidents involving defective or poorly maintained machinery and tools
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Lack of guardrails

Most oil rig work injuries require an investigation into the circumstances of the accident in order to determine if negligence is to blame.

Learn About Your Legal Rights

If you or a loved one has recently been injured or killed in an oil rig accident, you should consider discussing your situation with an experienced maritime injury lawyer. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you determine if you have a case, gather the evidence you need for your claim, guide you through the legal process, and deal with your employer and their lawyers on your behalf.

Oil rig accidents involve complex circumstances. In order to recover the full compensation you’re entitled to, it only makes sense to have an attorney with a detailed understanding of maritime law and how it applies to employee injuries.

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