Houston Oil Rig Accident Lawyer
Legally Reviewed By: Jud Waltman
Working on an oil rig—whether engaging in offshore drilling or operating a mainland drilling rig—is dangerous work. You’re working long hours in extreme weather conditions where physical and mental fatigue can easily set in. On top of that, oil is a highly combustible material.
In 2020, Texas had 206 active oil rigs and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest number of derrick oil and gas workers in the country, with 4,580 workers. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston is a key center for the oil and gas industry. Houston is a key center for the oil and gas industry. Houston oil companies employ about a third of the oil and gas extraction workers in the United States.
Oil rig workers perform jobs that support oil and gas drilling and extraction operations. Oil rig derrickmen and drillers work directly with the equipment used to drill and extract the oil. Tragically, oilfield injuries and offshore oil rig injuries can escalate quickly when emergency care is not near typically isolated rigs. It’s not uncommon for oil rig workers to suffer serious injuries, including traumatic head, neck, and back injuries, burns, and loss of limbs.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that Texas oil rigs experienced 44 worker fatalities in 2019. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the injury and illness rate for drilling and other well operations on the outer continental shelf climbed in 2019.
Types of Oil Rig Injuries
Oil rig workers suffer a wide range of debilitating injuries on the job that have a significant impact on their livelihood and long-term health.
Serious Limb and Organ Injuries
Workers can suffer devastating injuries, such as amputated limbs, fingers, or toes, when using rig machinery or when an instrument falls or malfunctions. Untethered machinery can crush or break hands, arms, and legs. Falls can produce serious internal organ injuries.
With unstable weather conditions and poor deck or equipment conditions, oil rig workers have fallen overboard and drowned at sea. Traumatic head and spine injuries in the dangerous oil rig environment can result in death or life-changing brain injury or paralysis.
Burns and Chemical Harm
Oil rig workers have been severely burned and disfigured in oil rig explosions and fires. Exposure to industrial chemicals on the job has resulted in respiratory problems, burns, and skin irritations. Scarring can impact the range of motion of hands, neck, and other body parts.
Repetitive Movement-Induced Injuries
Working on an oil rig involves repeated bending and twisting, as well as pushing, pulling, and lifting heavy equipment. Repetitive movements can lead to herniated or ruptured discs and chronic hand and neck injuries that affect a rig worker’s ability to do manual work.
Top Causes of Oil Rig Injuries
Oil rig injuries and fatalities are often due to an employer’s failure to provide a safe work environment or cutting corners to save money.
Some causes of injuries and deaths on oil rigs include:
- Faulty equipment
- Lack of maintenance, cleaning surfaces
- Gas leaks and explosions
- Oil rig blowouts
- High-pressure lines leaking or bursting
- Flammable gasses and vapors
- Hot surfaces, open flames
- Lit cigarettes
- Unstable heavy machinery
- Slippery surfaces
- Insufficient worker protective gear
- Inadequate training
- Falling pipes, objects
What are my rights after being injured in an oil rig accident?
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act, gives seaman the right to bring a personal injury action against their employer. The law requires employers to keep safe working conditions, a seaworthy vessel, and properly maintained equipment.
If your employer has not properly maintained oil rig mechanisms and kept the vessel a safe place to work, you may be able to sue them for injuries you suffered as an employee. Inadequate medical supplies on a vessel, insufficient lifeboats, and slippery decks are also violations of the Jones Act.
An injured worker filing a lawsuit under the Jones Act must do so within three years of the date of the injury. This means you should act quickly to find a lawyer to help you evaluate your personal injury case.
Can an oil rig accident lawyer help me?
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an oil rig accident, it’s a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer about your case. An experienced attorney can evaluate your injury or wrongful death case, provide you with solid legal advice, and represent you.
The Lanier Law Firm personal injury group has amassed a vast amount of trial experience. We have won substantial verdicts for clients in cases involving serious personal injuries, oil and gas litigation, and other civil litigation.
Our personal injury attorneys will offer you a free case evaluation, during which they will discern the details of your case, including where the injury occurred, your benefits under workers’ compensation, your current and potential medical bills, what your employer’s insurance company will cover, and other pertinent information.
Witness interviews, review of your medical records, investigations into vessel conditions, and an understanding of the Jones Act and other laws will guide the next steps.
Ultimately your lawyer will help you file your claim and work hard to secure the damages—including compensation for medical expenses, financial losses, and pain and suffering—you deserve.
Oil Rig Accident Attorneys at the Lanier Law Firm
The Lanier Law Firm has represented a broad range of clients in workplace accident disputes. This includes helping injured oil rig workers and other seamen secure awards under the Jones Act. Our lawyers wield deep knowledge, specialized maritime law designations, and advanced degrees when they fight for oil rig workers’ rights.
The firm has represented numerous clients who were hurt while working on vessels doing offshore oil drilling and oilfield work. Lanier lawyers filed one of the first class-action lawsuits on behalf of Louisiana residents and workers affected by the highly publicized BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion.