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Oil Rig Accidents: Know Your Rights

Mar 6, 2015 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

If you are a current or former Louisiana oil rig worker, you know the job is not always easy. You likely work grueling hours in incessant heat and humidity, surrounded by dangerous machinery and the unrelenting pounding of waves from the Gulf of Mexico – creating a perfect storm for potential injury.

If you are one of the courageous oil rig workers having experienced a recent accident or injury while on the job, you may be entitled to special treatment and compensation under the federal Jones Act – an act designed to ensure oil rig workers and other seamen are protected from unfair and unreasonably dangerous conditions while at sea. To obtain more information about how you can recover following an oil rig accident, you are encouraged to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Offshore Oil Drilling & Personal Injury

The offshore drilling and oil rig industry was once hardly mentioned in the news media – that is, until several high-profile explosions and mishaps took place in the Gulf, creating a 24-hour obsession with the demanding and risky line of work. Fallout from these incidents, including the infamous BP oil spill, is steadily becoming a distant memory – however the harm and danger of offshore drilling still exist today along the Louisiana coastline.

Under the Jones Act, which is a 91-year old statute addressing workers’ rights aboard sea vessels, offshore oil rig workers are generally considered seamen under the definition – and therefore entitled to certain rights and protections following injury.

Unlike a general personal injury action, seamen injured through the negligence of their master or fellow seamen are entitled to medical care and room and board for the time it takes to heal from the injury. In addition, the Jones Act protects and preserves the victim’s right to initiate a private cause of action against the employer, unlike the prohibition on such proceedings under general workers’ compensation laws.

Establishing Oil Rig Negligence

In order to recover following an oil rig incident, under either the Jones Act or via a traditional civil lawsuit, the victim must show that some component of the work experience led to the injury. This could include any of the following:

  • Poorly maintained rig parts and machinery
  • Lack of supervision over other rig workers
  • Failure to properly train workers
  • Working in hazardous weather
  • Failure to take precautions against gas leaks
  • Lack of safety training and equipment

In addition, liability for negligence may be imposed upon supervisors and the oil rig company together, making it all the more likely the victim will recover a fair and adequate compensation amount.

Contact Us Right Away!

If you were injured while working on an offshore oil rig and would like to discuss your rights under applicable maritime laws, please contact our Baton Rouge office right away. Dodson & Hooks APLC has an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who are ready to take your case. For an appointment, call (225) 372-1666.

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