Working offshore can be exciting, but it can also be dangerous. No matter how many safety precautions you take, accidents and injuries are common — and sometimes fatal. Offshore workers can experience devastating injuries caused by dangerous conditions on offshore platforms, crew boats, jack-up rigs, and tankers, and in the ocean itself. Workers often aren’t sufficiently trained and work long hours with few breaks, making the risk of injury even higher.
When a serious injury occurs in an offshore accident, it can be emotionally and financially devastating for the victim. It can also be hard to determine where to start when it comes to recovering damages from personal injury or wrongful death. A good place to start is to contact an offshore accident lawyer with experience in personal injury and maritime law who can wade through the complex details of your case and help you get the best recovery possible.
Common Causes of Offshore Accidents
Offshore and oilfield accidents are often preventable. They can happen during basket transfers, line handling, vessel collisions, and diving operations. Many accidents are the same as you’d encounter in many workplaces, such as equipment failures and slip-and-falls. But because working offshore is a more high-risk workplace environment, an injury may also result from a fire or explosion.
Despite the big budgets associated with the oil industry, there is sometimes very little training and oversight on an oil rig. This type of employer negligence can result in an unsafe working environment that leads to underqualified employees performing dangerous tasks that they aren’t properly trained for, resulting in serious injury.
Offshore accidents commonly lead to head trauma, spinal injuries, severed limbs, and other serious injuries. These injuries are often specifically caused by:
- Oil rig injuries. Workers on oil rigs use complex and cumbersome equipment to drill and perform other tasks. Many workers aren’t properly trained on how to use the needed equipment, which increases the risk of offshore accidents caused by human error.
- Deck accidents. The deck of an oil rig can be a chaotic environment where frenzied workers must constantly be on high alert. Workers are surrounded by trip hazards, fall hazards, electrical hazards, crush hazards, and pinch point hazards. They can easily be struck by heavy equipment, slip on wet surfaces, or fall when the sudden lurch of the vessel causes them to lose their balance.
- Equipment failure. When equipment on an offshore vessel fails, it can result in a number of severe injuries. Workers can be burned or electrocuted, crushed, and even lose limbs. Operating machinery on an oil rig requires a high level of caution to prevent injuries from occurring.
- Fires and explosions. While not common, fires and explosions are some of the most deadly causes of offshore accidents. They can happen as the result of improperly stored fuel, poorly maintained pipelines, or collisions between vessels. When there’s a fire, workers may have to jump off the rig into the ocean — often from a height of at least 100 feet. Even though workers are typically trained in the proper way to jump, the stress of the situation may result in a jump that leads to severe injury or drowning. Accidents caused by fire and injury can lead to life-altering injuries and even the loss of an entire vessel (and the people on it).
- Other vessels. Injuries also commonly occur on tugboats and barges. These include falling overboard, tow lines parting, and handling heavy lines. If helicopters are used to transport workers offshore, there’s a risk of injury from a helicopter crash.
When you’ve experienced any type of offshore accident, no matter the cause, it can be physically and emotionally traumatic. You may find yourself trying to heal from your injuries while figuring out how to deal with the loss of a regular and substantial paycheck that supports your family. Our offshore accident lawyers in Austin, Texas, are here to help you determine the cause of your accident and the best way to get you financially on your feet again.
Damages in an Offshore Accident Case
An offshore accident can be devastating to you and your family. You may have injuries that require extensive and ongoing medical attention and rehabilitation, leading to medical bills that seem to keep piling up. Or a family may have experienced a fatal accident that has caused endless pain and suffering. When you’ve also lost your main source of income, it can feel like you’ll never find relief.
An offshore accident lawyer can help you determine the amount of damages you may be able to recover and negotiate on your behalf to make sure you get the best recovery possible. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for damages that include lost wages, medical expenses, disfigurement, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.
Your attorney will make sure you have all the needed medical records and documentation to prove tangible costs associated with your injury. They will also show how your loss of wages (both presently and in the future) affects you financially, and make sure any third parties are held responsible for their negligence.