Oil Rig Injuries

Perhaps no example better illustrates the potential dangers of working on an oil rig than the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 in which 11 people were lost at sea after a blowout caused the rig to sink in the Gulf of Mexico.

The people employed on offshore oil rigs face any number of hazards every day when they go to work. Oil rigs are large, complex, and loaded with heavy machinery, which can make them especially vulnerable to mishaps and accidents. Oil rigs are particularly susceptible to fires and explosions, which bring with them the potential for chaos and catastrophe.

Additionally, oil rig workers often are under enormous pressure to produce quick results. That may result in managers pushing employees past their limits and cutting corners on safety and maintenance of equipment.

When an accident happens on the ocean with help miles away on land, the results often can be devastating — and fatal. Injured workers may face insurmountable medical bills in the wake of accidents that leave them with head trauma, severe burns, chemical exposure, or other severe and disabling injuries.

If you are the victim of an oil rig accident, it may be critical to your recovery to consult with an offshore injury lawyer who have a track record of success with maritime injury cases. The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has a staff of experienced attorneys with more than four decades of experience handling a variety of oil rig injuries, including representing victims of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Common Causes of Oil Rig Accidents

Oil rigs are massive, hulking operations that operate in remote locales and dangerous weather conditions. Given the size of the operation, offshore oil rigs come with numerous risks that may lead to serious or fatal injuries.

Common causes of accidents on Texas oil rigs include:

  • Blowouts, leading to fires or explosions
  • Slippery conditions resulting in falls onto lower decks or into the ocean
  • Failing equipment
  • Inadequate manpower or training
  • Leaky toxic chemicals and/or fumes
  • Defective machinery, leading to breakdowns or other accidents

Common Types of Oil Rig Injuries

The potential for injuries or fatal accidents aboard Texas oil rigs is enormous. Common injuries sustained in oil rig accidents include:

  • Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage or paralysis
  • Severe burns
  • Chemical poisoning or toxic inhalation
  • Limb amputation
  • Crushing injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Back and neck injuries

These injuries bring with them high medical costs and a long road to recovery. These types of injuries can be disabling. You may be experiencing physical limitations that prevent you from working, and at the same time you may be receiving significant medical bills and worrying about how to keep up with your rent or mortgage and other daily expenses.

Damages in Texas Oil Rig Accidents

If you’ve sustained an oil rig injury, medical costs and lost wages can quickly combine to overwhelm you and your family. Thankfully, several laws exist that allow injured maritime workers to seek compensation when your employer did not provide a safe work environment or when a third party’s negligence caused your injuries.

Death on the High Seas Act

The family members of a seaman killed in an offshore oil rig accident may be able to make a claim for compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act. The act allows surviving family members to seek compensation for quantifiable monetary losses known as pecuniary damages when a seaman dies more than 3 nautical miles off the United States coast while in the course of his or her employment.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

When an oil rig employee is injured while working offshore on the outer continental shelf, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act may allow the worker to seek compensation for past and future:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical limitations
  • Physical pain
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement

The Jones Act

When an employee who qualifies as a seaman is injured while working offshore on navigable waters, the Jones Act allows the employee to sue his or her employer for negligence. A seaman is a person who works on a vessel, which can include any kind of watercraft that floats and can be navigated.

Through a Jones Act claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your past and future:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical pain
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity

Only certain types of offshore workers are covered by the Jones Act. Oil rig workers may be able to sue their employers using the Jones Act, but that will depend on factors such as:

  • How much time you typically spend at sea
  • The nature of your employment
  • Where you were injured

A qualified Texas maritime injury attorney can evaluate whether you might be entitled to compensation as an injured seaman under the Jones Act.

Maintenance and Cure

When you’ve been injured while working on a vessel, compensation that may be available under the legal doctrine of maintenance and cure can help you meet ordinary living expenses and get necessary medical treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement.

The two forms of compensation available under this doctrine include:

  • Maintenance — You may be able to receive maintenance payments for daily living expenses, such as food, rent or mortgage costs, and essential utilities.
  • Cure — Cure benefits pay the cost of your medical treatment.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

An oil rig worker who is not a seaman under the Jones Act and is injured offshore on navigable waters may be able to obtain compensation through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Eligible employees may receive compensation for:

  • Medical treatments
  • Transportation costs
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Rehabilitation costs

If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party other than your employer, you may be able to sue for additional damages, such as physical pain and mental anguish. Additionally, the surviving family members of workers killed on oil rigs may be able to sue a third party for negligence under the LHWCA.

How Our Houston Offshore Injury Lawyers Can Help

When an oil rig worker is injured in a blowout or another type of maritime accident, the circumstances of the accident or injury will dictate which of several unique maritime or Texas laws applies. In order to make a successful claim for compensation, you’ll need the help of a qualified Houston offshore accident lawyer who knows how these laws work and how to apply them to your case.

The attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have extensive experience representing injured oil rig workers, including obtaining numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of people we’ve represented. We are dedicated to helping you not only obtain the compensation you deserve, but also move forward with your life following a serious oil rig accident.

We have the skill and resources to fight for fair compensation and to hold the parties responsible for your injuries accountable. Call us at or use the contact form below to schedule a free case evaluation appointment with one of our personal injury lawyers today.