Offshore Helicopter Accident Lawyers

Helping Crews & Families After Helicopter Accidents

The leading cause of industrial accidents for oil and gas workers is not explosions, machinery accidents, or falls. Instead, the main danger in these incidents is helicopter accidents. 

This shocking detail was released in the CDC’s most recent report on this subject: Fatal Injuries in Offshore Oil and Gas Operations. From 2003 to 2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry experienced a fatality rate 7 times the national average for all industries. The CDC’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that 128 fatalities occurred in offshore oil and gas activities. Over half of these were due to transportation incidents, with helicopters implicated in three-quarters of cases. Most offshore helicopter accidents occurred in the Gulf of Mexico; of the 17 crashes in the Gulf, 11 resulted in the death of at least 1 worker. 9 victims survived the initial crash but later drowned.

Arnold & Itkin is here to help if you or someone you love has suffered harm in an offshore helicopter accident. As leading maritime law attorneys, we understand the intricacies of these cases and have an unmatched track record of success in and outside of the courtroom. We have won more than $20 billion for our clients.

If you've been injured or have lost a loved one, our offshore helicopter accident attorneys are standing by to help. Call (888) 346-5024 today. 

The Dangers of Offshore Helicopters

A common way to transport workers to and from offshore drilling rigs is by helicopter. Air travel is much quicker than traveling by boat; because helicopters have good maneuverability, they can land on rigs equipped with helicopter pads. While helicopters offer a quick, convenient way to transport offshore workers, there are safety issues to be considered. 

A study conducted in 2011 at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy reported 178 helicopter crashes between 1983 and 2009 that resulted in 139 deaths. The study found that mechanical failure was the leading cause of offshore helicopter accidents. Loss of engine power was responsible for almost a third of the fatal crashes. The study also found that 20% of forced landings due to mechanical problems occurred in the water. The second most common contributor to offshore helicopter crashes was bad weather, which was responsible for 16% of the crashes.

Some of the most common contributors to serious offshore helicopter crashes include:

  • Mechanical Failure: A mechanical failure could be caused by a number of things at any point during the helicopter's life: the result of a defect in the design, faulty manufacturing, poor maintenance and upkeep, improper installation, inadequate operational monitoring, or improper use. An electrical malfunction could also cause a helicopter accident.
  • Bad Weather: Weather can contribute to a helicopter crash. Weather over the seas can often be violent. Heavy fog and rain can restrict the pilot's range of sight, while strong winds can make it difficult to guide the helicopter. Strong headwinds and tailwinds are very dangerous conditions to fly in and can cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft.
  • Pilot Error: Pilot error (sometimes referred to as operational error) is an error in flight planning, conducting the flight, training, or maintenance. This includes not operating the aircraft within its limits, flying in unsafe weather, improperly planning the flight, failing to maintain the helicopter, and improper training of flight and maintenance personnel.

The companies responsible for operating and maintaining offshore helicopters have an obligation to pilots and passengers to ensure the safety of their aircraft and the proper training of their personnel. As offshore helicopter accident lawyers, we get to the bottom of these incidents to find answers and uncover all potentially liable parties.

Though an offshore helicopter accident may seem to have been caused by adverse weather, a bigger question might be: Why was the helicopter operating in such weather in the first place? 

Legal Complexities of Offshore Helicopter Accidents

In terms of the law, offshore helicopter accidents are particularly complex. In addition to potential challenges in recovering wreckage to be used as evidence, offshore helicopter accidents can potentially fall under several different federal and/or state laws and regulations.

Depending on a variety of factors, the following may apply to an offshore helicopter accident:

Determining which laws apply and where to file suit is one of the crucial parts of handling an offshore helicopter accident case. Offshore crew members, for example, might be covered by the Jones Act. The Death on the High Seas Act (DOSHA) might apply if one or more passengers lost their lives in the accident.

Additionally, various parties may be liable for an offshore helicopter accident. Some cases involve multiple defendants who share accountability. Identifying all at-fault parties is another crucial part of filing a case and seeking fair compensation for the considerable losses that an offshore helicopter accident can cause.

Liable parties may include one or more of the following:

  • Helicopter owner and/or operator
  • Manufacturer
  • Maintenance company
  • Component manufacturer
  • Offshore employer

Talk to an Offshore Helicopter Accident Attorney Today

The road to recovery after an offshore helicopter accident can be long and difficult. You may find that your employer, who you thought was on your side, is pressuring you to return to work before you’re ready. Or, you may find that the helicopter operator is denying all responsibility after an accident that claimed a loved one’s life. 

You need a powerful ally to assert your rights. When you reach out to Arnold & Itkin to discuss your case, your consultation is free and confidential. You will quickly find that we want to hear your story and care about what happens to you and your family during this difficult time. If we take your case, there is no out-of-pocket cost to you. We forward all costs associated with investigating and litigating the matter, and we only get paid if we win. 

Ready to find out how we can help you? Call (888) 346-5024 or contact us online.

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