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Legal Blog

Southern Storms Resulting in Dangerous Waters

There are nearly 10,000 offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico at any given time. Dangerous weather conditions are among the many hazardous factors that offshore workers must face. As the 2016 hurricane season approaches, the abrupt and unpredictable weather in the Gulf of Mexico is a reality that offshore employers must be prepared to deal with. However, the sustained drop in oil prices has many concerned that cost-cutting could negatively impact the safety of offshore workers.

The Louisiana Times Picayune reports that oil and gas companies in the Gulf Coast region seem to be taking a reactive approach to storms rather than taking proactive steps in preparing for them. Citing the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike and Gustav in 2008, and Hurricane Isaac in 2012, “safety experts and environmental advocates are skeptical the industry is prepared for the next big storm.”

Maritime law requires an employer of “seamen” to exercise reasonable care in the evacuation of its workers during extreme weather conditions. Employers are responsible for monitoring potentially dangerous weather conditions, determining whether a storm system poses a risk of harm to personnel, and making the decision to safely evacuate workers. Failing to take the proper precautions in light of severe weather conditions can have devastating consequences for offshore workers. This is why the Coast Guard Regulations require offshore facilities to have an Emergency Evacuation Plan (EEP) in place, which provides action plans based on the timeline of the storm, how far away the workers are from shore and the number of personnel that needs to be evacuated.

Employers are also responsible for ensuring that transportation to and from offshore facilities are carried out in a safe manner, which can be more difficult during an evacuation given that storms are often unpredictable. Some of the greatest risks to offshore workers comes during transportation to and from the offshore facility, but this is particularly true when there are severe weather conditions. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the helicopter crashes along the Gulf Coast were the most frequent fatal event in the offshore drilling industry resulting in 49 deaths from 2003 to 2010. The two leading causes of helicopter crashes were mechanical failures and adverse weather.

Contact an Experienced Houston Offshore Accident Attorney

Maritime accidents are governed by a unique set of laws. The laws are designed to apply to specific situations and specific categories of people. It is important that you contact an experienced maritime accident lawyer as soon as possible if you have been injured offshore. A qualified maritime accident lawyer can explain which laws apply in your case and what forms of compensation you will be able to receive.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer or against a third party that caused your injuries through negligence. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries due to a weather-related accident if the owner or operator of the offshore facility failed to act in an appropriate manner during a hurricane or storm.

How the Houston Offshore Injury Lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Can Help You

If you or a loved one have been injured in a maritime accident due to dangerous weather conditions, you need the experience of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. lawyers on your side. The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has over 27 years of experience fighting for people injured in maritime accidents and a proven track record of success, which includes one of the largest maritime accident recoveries in Texas history. Our attorneys have the resources to build trial-worthy cases and are dedicated to helping guide you through a stressful process so that you can move on with your life.

Contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 to speak with an experienced Houston offshore injury lawyer.