The Most Common Injuries Suffered on Offshore Rigs

by Frank E. Lamothe, III

Offshore oil rigs are one of the most dangerous places to work due to their remote locations, heavy equipment, and flammable materials. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, workers in the gas and oil industry face fatality rates seven times higher than all U.S. workers. Most of these injuries are preventable, and you may be eligible for federal benefits if you were injured on an offshore oil rig.

Injury Risks on Offshore Oil Rigs

Workers on offshore oil rigs are at risk of suffering from a number of injuries caused by transportation issues, explosions, slip-and-falls, heavy equipment, and toxic chemical exposure. These injuries can be severe and made worse by the remote location of an oil rig, far away from emergency personnel and medical centers. Common injuries on an oil rig include:

Spinal cord injuries
Traumatic brain injuries
Broken bones
Toxic inhalation and chemical poisoning
Lacerations and punctures
Vision and hearing loss
Respiratory damage
Allergic reactions

Injuries sustained on an offshore oil rig can be life-altering, leading to loss of work, disability, and even death.

Louisiana Offshore Drilling Compensation

Louisiana has a robust maritime industry, and offshore Gulf Oil rigs account for 5% of the dry natural gas production and 17% of crude oil production in the United States. In Louisiana, if you are injured on an offshore rig, you have a few avenues for seeking compensation.

The Merchant Marine Act, also called the Jones Act, is a federal mandate allowing maritime workers to sue the employers of the rig, captain and owner of the vessel, and employees for injuries they sustain as a result of negligence.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or LHWCA, can be pursued exclusively, concurrently, or sequentially for compensation on top of any awards from the Jones Act. It also allows offshore oil rig workers to sue their employer for injuries sustained due to negligent acts, or the negligence of other employees onboard a stationary rig.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, or OCSLA, classifies offshore oil rig workers as longshoremen. Longshoremen can receive increased workers’ compensation benefits from the State of Louisiana.

There may be other options for seeking compensation, depending on where you were injured. Those who are injured during transportation to and from an oil rig may be able to seek compensation from insurance companies of the transportation services.

Both the Jones Act and the LHWCA provide ways for injured workers to sue for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Wrongful Death

Because of the dangerous nature of offshore drilling work, disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people in 2010 are always a risk. The Death on the High Seas Act of 1920, or DOHSA, allows a surviving spouse, child, parent, or other dependents to seek pecuniary losses for a death that occurs on an oil rig beyond three miles from shore.

Pecuniary damages are calculable financial losses sustained by the surviving relative, such as loss of financial support or medical bills. There are many limits on seeking DOHSA compensation, but it may be an integral part of restoring financial integrity to surviving family members after the death of their loved one on an oil rig.

Contact Us

The process for compensation for offshore oil rig injuries is exceptionally complicated, and you may have to wade through insurance, federal compensation programs, and state and federal laws.

An experienced offshore oil rig attorney already knows the complexities of this process, and how to gather evidence that can support your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Lamothe Law Firm today at (504)704-1414 for a free consultation and let our team help you determine the best way to protect your interests.

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