In 2021 an offshore oil industry boat flipped in the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Louisiana. On board were nine crew members, two galley staff, and eight offshore workers.
Altogether, 10 people were rescued from this accident. Despite an extensive search that lasted for 175 hours some members of the crew were not recovered, and there were multiple fatalities.
Oil rig accidents can lead to tragic oil rig injuries and fatalities. This is sobering enough. But who pays the medical bills for accidents at work in this industry?
Let’s explore the injuries and financial responsibilities that come with these types of accidents.
The Most Common Types of Oil Rig Injuries
Before we dive into who is responsible for paying, let’s discuss some of the common injuries.
These injuries vary in severity and because of that, the cost isn’t always easy to determine. Beyond the medical bills, there are often other factors to consider like necessary time off from work during recovery.
While these are some of the most common types of oil rig accident injuries reported, it is crucial to remember that every incident is unique. Each one will carry its own set of circumstances and potential risks for those involved in offshore operations.
Slip and Falls
One of the most common types of accidents on an oil rig is slip and fall. With slippery surfaces, uneven terrain, and constantly changing weather conditions, it’s no wonder that workers can easily lose their footing. These accidents can result in broken bones, sprains, concussions, or even more severe injuries.
Working high above ground level exposes oil rig workers to the risk of falling objects. Whether it’s tools, equipment, or debris from construction work overhead – a single hit from a falling object can cause serious head injuries or fractures.
Fires and Explosions
The presence of flammable materials combined with intense heat sources on an oil rig creates a hazardous environment prone to fires and explosions. Severe burns and respiratory problems are often sustained during these incidents due to exposure to flames or toxic fumes.
Oil rigs use a lot of machines for drilling. These machines can be dangerous for workers if they’re not taken care of or used safely. From malfunctioning equipment causing amputations to crushing injuries caused by heavy machinery, these accidents can have life-altering consequences.
Transportation mishaps such as helicopter crashes or boat collisions during crew transfers put oil rig workers at significant risk of injury or fatality.
Medical Expenses From Oil Rig Injuries
When it comes to oil rig injuries, the physical toll is often just the beginning. The medical expenses that follow can be overwhelming and burdensome for the injured worker and their family. From emergency room visits to ongoing treatments and rehabilitation, these costs can quickly add up.
Immediate Medical Expenses
Immediate medical expenses that need to be addressed after an oil rig accident. Depending on the severity of the injury, this may include the following:
- Ambulance services
- Emergency room fees
- Diagnostic tests such as X-rays or MRIs
These initial costs alone can put a significant strain on an injured worker’s finances.
Long-Term Medical Expenses
But it doesn’t stop there. Many oil rig injuries require long-term medical care to aid in recovery or manage chronic conditions resulting from the accident. This may involve the following:
- Ongoing doctor visits
- Physical therapy sessions
- Prescription medications for pain management or infection prevention
- Assistive devices like crutches or wheelchairs
Sometimes, a worker who is hurt may need special treatment from experts in orthopedics or neurology. These experts can help with complex injuries that happen at work, but they usually have higher fees than regular doctors or therapists.
Accidents on oil rigs can result in permanent disability or life-altering conditions. These conditions may require lifelong care and assistance. This means medical expenses will continue forever, which is a big financial burden for many people.
Who Is Liable After an Oil Rig Accident?
When it comes to offshore oil rig accidents, determining liability can be a complex and challenging task. With multiple parties involved in the operation of these rigs, it is crucial to identify who may be responsible for the injuries sustained by workers. Let’s take a closer look at who could potentially be held liable after an oil rig accident.
The Employer or Company
The employer or company that owns and operates the oil rig bears some responsibility for ensuring a safe working environment. They have a duty to provide proper training, safety equipment, and maintenance procedures to minimize risks. If negligence on their part contributed to the accident, they could be held liable.
Contractors or Subcontractors
Contractors or subcontractors hired by the company may also share liability if their actions or negligence led to the accident. These third-party entities have specific responsibilities while working on the rig.
For example, this could include maintaining equipment or providing specialized services. If their failure to meet these obligations resulted in injury, they could face legal consequences.
Manufacturers of defective machinery or equipment used on offshore oil rigs may also carry liability for accidents that occur due to faulty products. If it can be proven that there was a design flaw or manufacturing defect in any equipment involved in the incident, injured workers may have grounds for product liability claims against these manufacturers.
Regulatory bodies such as government agencies responsible for overseeing safety standards within the industry play an important role in holding parties accountable after an oil rig accident. Their failure to enforce regulations or conduct adequate inspections might contribute to assigning liability.
Hire Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans Area for Your Case
Injuries sustained on oil rigs can have serious and long-lasting consequences for workers. When it comes to who is liable for these accidents, determining responsibility can be complex. A lawyer can help you understand your rights when you’re injured while working on an oil rig.
Don’t let the bills from your oil rig injuries overwhelm you. Work with a lawyer experienced in handling oil rig cases. Contact Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.