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Jack-Up Rig Accident Lawyers

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Working on a jack-up rig, offshore platform, and semi-submersible rig is dangerous work. Fires, explosions, swinging pipes and cables, and equipment failures can all cause serious injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has been injured while working offshore on a jack-up rig, you may have a claim for damages under federal maritime law.

At Arnold & Itkin, we understand how overwhelming and challenging this time can be. That is why we are here to help. Call us now at (888) 346-5024 if you need counsel.

Are Jack-Up Rigs Safe?

Jack-up rigs are a particular kind of oil rig, which can be moved into place and held via legs extended to the sea floor. They are employed at sea level depths ranging from 50 to 300 feet deep. As of the end of 2013, there were over 500 jack-up rigs being used across the U.S. There are two main types of jack-up rigs in use: mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) and turbine installation vessels, used to install offshore wind turbines. The complex and delicate machinery used to keep jack-up rigs stable must be closely monitored and maintained to prevent disasters. If the rig is not fully stabilized, it may shift on the water and cause equipment to fall on its surface, severely injuring workers.

In some cases, rigs have collapsed or exploded. In July 2013, a jack-up rig off the coast of Louisiana caught fire after the rig's blowout preventer failed to keep gas from building up. Fortunately, all crewmembers were safely evacuated, but the collapse of the rig led to further examination of safety procedures. Advances in the machinery used to keep the rig stable include several systems for controlling the platform's leg movements, including electronic control via motors with soft starters, variable speed drives (VSDs), and hydraulic-operated lifts. Many manufacturers are pushing VSDs as the safest, most efficient way to control the oil platform's movements.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations lists guidelines for the movements and installation of jack-up rigs. Many other countries have followed suit in regulating these rigs, some even placing more stringent guidelines on the operation of the platforms. The stricter guidelines can include a requirement that all production and wells be stopped unless the platform is fully stabilized on the sea floor. Despite troubling events that call into question the safety of jack-up rigs, continuous advancements in technology are helping to make them more stable. As with any oil rig, constant vigilance and maintenance are needed to ensure a safe rig, and any lapse in safety measures could lead to disaster.

Have You Been Injured on a Jack-Up Rig?

In less than a 10-year period, there have been more than 900 fires and explosions, 60 fatalities, and 1,548 injuries related to offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if employers and operators had paid more attention to safety procedures and the protection of their workers.

Accidents and injuries can be caused by a range of different issues such as:

  • Equipment failures
  • Human error
  • Loss of well control
  • Slip and falls
  • Rig collapses
  • Collisions
  • Adverse weather

If you have been injured aboard a jack-up rig through the negligence of your employer or a third party, you may be entitled to compensation for lost past and future wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, future medical expenses, and other costs. Many accidents are caused by a lack of emphasis on proper safety precautions, training, and other measures, placing workers in dangerous and perilous work conditions.

The Threat of Accidents on Jack-Up Rigs

Working at an offshore location, you understand that the environment around you is continuously changing and can become life-threatening in a matter of moments. Any aspect of your jack-up rig, from the legs on the ocean floor to the cranes high overhead, can malfunction when improperly maintained and cause serious injury to workers.

If you have been injured due to the defective equipment on a jack-up rig, our firm is here to help.

As one of the most dangerous offshore accidents, jack-up rig accidents can become fatal if the proper safety response is not taken immediately. These types of mobile offshore oil platforms are held in place above the sea by legs that are stabilized by the ocean floor. Virtually any type of accident can occur to a worker on this type of rig, including a fall from a great height after the failure of a safety harness or a crushing injury from a falling object. The good news is that Arnold & Itkin is committed to protecting victim of these accidents.

What Are Your Rights After These Types of Accidents?

In most cases, jack-up rigs and floating oil platforms are considered vessels in navigation, which means that they give injured workers certain rights under the Jones Act and general maritime law. Since these platforms and rigs are often moving from location to location, they are essentially viewed as a vessel.

This means that you can file certain claims that you may not have been able to file if the jack-up rig wasn’t deemed a vessel. For example, you can recover maintenance and cure, injury compensation, and much more. If negligence was involved, you will need the help of a seasoned maritime injury attorney to craft a strong claim.

How Does the Jones Act Apply to My Case?

The Jones Act was created in 1920 to protect injured seamen and compensate for their suffering. In order for this act to apply to a jack-up rig accident, it would depend on whether the jack-up rig was a fixed oil platform or a mobile rig. In the past, the act only included ships, tugboats, barges, and shipping vessels, but it has evolved to include semi-submersible rigs and jack-up rigs. An offshore injury lawyer can review your case to determine what is best for you. In order to be considered a seaman who is protected under the Jones Act, you must pass a three-part test.

The eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Must be a worker on a vessel or fleet of vessels
  • The vessel must be operating on a navigable waterway
  • The worker's duties must directly further the ship's mission or function

Unlike basic workers' compensation claims, filing a claim under the Jones Act requires the victim to prove that the employer exhibited negligence or did not maintain a seaworthy vessel. An employer is required to give seamen a safe place to work and exercise reasonable caution when maintaining the overall quality of the ship. If they fail to do so and an injury results as a consequence, a Jones Act claim may be brought forward.

The injury victim may be eligible to recover damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and any medical expenses. However, it can be difficult to prove that the injuries were a consequence of the employer's negligence, particularly if the work environment already holds a certain level of danger.

It is important to note that many employers are reluctant to give victims the compensation they need and insurance companies often try to force victims into accepting a minimum settlement. Our firm knows how challenging this time can be, which is why we're here to offer support every step of the way. Our offshore injury lawyers can take care of the details and allow you the time you need to fully recover.

What to Do After Your Accident: Call (888) 346-5024

When a person is injured in the open sea, their injury claim is subject to general maritime law and the Jones Act. As a seaman, the injured will have rights to pursue compensation for certain types of injuries sustained in a jack-up rig accident. Understanding your rights, legal options, and steps during this time can be overwhelming. That is why our offshore injury lawyers are here to guide you through the process.

Filing your offshore injury claim may be difficult, especially if your employer is attempting to refuse your claim. It is always crucial that you have the skilled assistance of a maritime attorney by your side.

Contact a maritime injury attorneY At Arnold & Itkin Now.

What is it Like To Work With Arnold & Itkin

Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

I encountered professionalism, understanding, compassion… lot of compassion. They really felt for what me and my wife were going through.
~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

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Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.

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