Working on Jack-Up Drilling Rig is a Risky Job
A jack-up rig or jack-up platform is a self-elevating structure used to provide a firm base to oil rigs in drilling operations. Jack-up rigs are generally categorized into two different types: open truss platforms and columnar platforms. These rigs are mobile platforms that are generally towed to a drilling site on tugs or heavy lift ships.
Working on a jack-up drilling rig is a risky job even in the best conditions. All types of accidents can occur on these movable platforms, including:
- Transfer accidents
- Falling equipment from derrick
- Tongs & Slips Injuries
- Falls from decks and platforms
- Stair and ladder accidents
- Drilling floor accidents
- Wireline operation accidents
- Crew boat and supply boat accidents
- Transportation helicopter accidents
- Severe weather conditions and rough seas
- Sanitation and food poisoning incidents
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Heavy lifting or pulling accidents
- Oil-based drilling mud spills
- Equipment failures and machinery collapses
- Fires and explosions
A jack-up rig injury accident can change the course of your life in an instant. These kinds of accidents often lead to severe injuries which you may never be able to completely recover from. In addition to pain and suffering, when you are injured in a jack-up platform accident you are likely to sustain significant financial losses, including medical expenses and lost wages and income. With so much on the line, you need to be sure you have a trusted legal team on your side who can protect your rights and help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to under the law.
An Offshore Injury Attorney Can Help
The Willis Law Firm fights for the rights of workers and their families when a maritime accident occurs. We have extensive experience handling all types of offshore injury cases, including cases involving jack-up rigs, drillships, and other mobile drilling platforms. In a majority of these cases, a federal statute known as the Jones Act will apply. The Jones Act enables injured seamen, including jack-up rig and oil rig workers, to collect maintenance and cure benefits of their employers. The Act also gives these seamen the right to sue an employer for negligence damages.
In some cases, the injured person may be a contracted worker who is sent out to the rig to assist with a specific job. Even though this individual is not technically employed by the company operating the rig, he may still have a legal claim against the company under the Jones Act. For instance, if the individual spends enough time working on the rig he may be considered a “borrowed seaman” under the borrowed servant doctrine and be entitled to Jones Act rights and protection.
When you are injured on a jack-up rig or any other type of maritime structure or platform it can be difficult to determine which laws apply to your case. An experienced offshore injury and accident attorney can review your case to determine whether the Jones Act or other maritime injury laws provide the best opportunity for a full financial recovery.
Why are Jack-Up Rigs So Dangerous?
Several factors make jack-up rigs dangerous places to work. While some of these factors are inherent to the nature of the work, many of them are the result of companies’ failures to protect their workers’ safety. The Jones Act and other maritime laws protect workers in both types of scenarios. This means that jack-up rig accident attorneys can help workers seek financial compensation for accidents involving issues such as:
- Capsizing of a jack-up rig due to it not being properly secured
- Equipment malfunctions due to defects an inadequate maintenance
- Electrical and gas fires and explosions
- Blasts resulting in concussions and other injuries
- Falling and flying objects and debris
- Dangerous weather conditions and rough seas
Common Injuries in Jack-Up Rig Accidents
According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), more than 100 workers suffer serious or fatal injuries on jack-up rigs and other mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) each year. However, this is based only on the number of injuries and deaths actually reported. The actual number of on-the-job injuries onboard jack-up rigs is likely much higher. Some of the most common injuries jack-up rig workers sustain on the job include:
- Back and spine injuries
- Bone fractures
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Lacerations (severe cuts often requiring stitches or sutures)
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Near-drowning injuries
- Muscle tears
- Occupational diseases from exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals
What Losses Can Recover as an Injured Worker?
The losses a jack-up rig accident lawyer can help you recover depending on the cause and effects of your injuries. Minimally, if you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, a jack-up rig accident lawyer can help you file for maintenance and cure benefits. These benefits cover your medical expenses (for treatment of your accident-related injuries only) and a portion of your lost wages.
Maintenance and cure benefits are available on a “no-fault” basis, which means a jack-up rig accident attorney can help you file a claim regardless of how you got injured. If your employer or the rig owner is responsible for your injuries, an attorney may be able to help you recover full compensation for your:
- Accident-related medical needs
- Other out-of-pocket costs (such as prescriptions, medical supplies and transportation)
- Loss of earnings and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship, consortium, enjoyment of life and other non-financial losses
This includes not only your losses through the date you file a Jones Act negligence claim but also your losses in the future. In many cases, offshore workers who suffer severe injuries in jack-up rig accidents will suffer consequences for years to come. As a result, their injuries can become incredibly expensive, and they will need to recover financial compensation to move on.
Tragically, some jack-up rig accidents are fatal. If you have lost a loved one working offshore, a jack-up rig accident lawyer can help you seek death benefits under the Jones Act. You and your family may also have claims for additional compensation due to your loved one’s wrongful death. For a free and confidential assessment of your family’s legal rights, contact us today.
Call The Willis Law Firm to Speak with an Experienced Jack-Up Rig Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a jack-up rig accident The Willis Law Firm is here to help. Attorney David Willis is licensed in both Texas and New York and represents victims of offshore maritime accidents nationwide. Consultations with The Willis Law Firm are always free and completely confidential. Call us today to discuss your case.