The Gulf of Mexico has the most offshore oil rigs in the world. Texas has the most drilling rigs in the country, with 371 drilling rigs. New Mexico is next with 108 drilling rigs. With the large number of oil rigs, it is unsurprising that oil rig explosions and fires are common in Texas.

The Deepwater Horizon – Worst Oil Rig Explosion in the United States

The largest oil spill in the history of the United States began on April 20, 2010. The Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling rig, exploded. It burned and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, causing over 3.2 million barrels of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. 

The oil rig accident killed 11 people. The final report concluding the investigation into the oil rig disaster indicated human error and a failure of risk management led to the catastrophic well blowout.

Notable Oil Rig Explosions in Texas

During the past decade, there have been several oil rig explosions in Texas, including:

  • An oil well in West Texas owned by RKI Exploration & Production after a high-pressure explosion in April 2014. The oil rig explosion killed two workers and resulted in minor injuries for other oil rig workers.
  • In October 2014, an oil rig explosion in southern Texas severely injured five workers when drillers hit a gas pocket. The oil rig was located near Cotulla, TX.
  • Another oil rig in West Texas exploded in March 2015, killing three workers. Federal regulators fined the company approximately $50,000 for serious safety violations that could have contributed to the well explosion.
  • An oil rig south of Kirbyville in Jasper County exploded in August 2019, injuring four workers. An equipment malfunction is the possible cause of the oil rig explosion.
  • The Wendland well in Burleson County, operated by Chesapeake Energy, experienced a blowout in January 2020, killing three people and injuring one. The CSB’s final report concluded the cause of the blowout was a lack of good planning.

There have been many more oil rig explosions throughout Texas and the United States. Oil rig accidents have the potential to cause devastating losses for workers and their families. 

Causes of Oil Rig Explosions and Injuries to Workers

Some oil rig accidents are unavoidable. They may be due to bad weather or other unpreventable factors. However, most oil rig explosions can be attributed to human error and negligence.

A failure to maintain equipment and platforms can lead to structural and equipment failure. Inadequate training is another common problem on oil rigs, which can increase the risk of mistakes that cause oil rig explosions.

Oil rig workers sustain severe injuries when an oil rig explodes. Some workers do not survive the explosion or die from their injuries in the hours or days following the accident. Common oil rig injuries include:

Working on an oil rig is dangerous work. Explosions are just one of the causes of injuries to workers. Slips and falls, heavy machinery, and other hazards can cause catastrophic injuries to workers.

Get Help With an Injury Claim Caused by an Oil Rig Explosion or Accident in Texas

If you sustain injuries while working on an oil rig, you may be entitled to compensation from one or more sources. An experienced Houston oil rig accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex laws that govern what happens on an oil rig. Instead of workers’ compensation, your compensation would fall under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Under federal law, an oil rig worker can recover financial restitution for damages including:

Family members of deceased oil rig workers can seek compensation for damages caused by a wrongful death.

If an oil company violated safety regulations, the worker could be entitled to punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. However, maritime injury law is complicated. You do not want to hire an attorney who does not have substantial experience handling oil rig accident cases.

As with other injury claims, oil rig accident claims are subject to a statute of limitations. Federal law sets deadlines for filing claims for maritime injuries.

Contact a Houston Oil Rig Accident Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim

Call an experienced Houston oil rig accident lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible. Waiting too long could result in losing your right to file a lawsuit or pursue a claim for damages.

For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

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Houston, TX 77098

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