Baker Hughes Inc., the Houston- based oilfield services company, reported the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by 12 this week to 1,754.
Of the more than 1,700 rigs, 1,383 were exploring for oil and 365 for gas. A year ago, there were 1,806 rigs. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
This report was issued the same week the company suspended operations in Iraq following a weekend protest.
The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas increasing also brings an increase in injuries and fatalities. Every year hundreds of workers are injured; some are able to navigate the system and receive proper compensation and medical care while many are not.
Admiralty law is designed with provisions to take care of an injured seaman. Maintenance and cure is the doctrine of paying an injured seaman’s medical care while also ensuring long-term health while providing financial payment while he is unable to work. Vessel owners are required to provide maintenance and cure; injured seamen have legal recourse if this does not happen. When a maritime employer’s negligence results in an injury, a seaman may also maintain a lawsuit under the Jones Act. The Jones Act protects maritime families by providing an avenue for recovery of future medical expenses, lost wage earning capacity, and all of the emotional and family harms that result from an offshore injury.
For more information about the rights injured offshore workers have regarding unpaid medical costs, please click here.
A Doyle Raizner client has been awarded a unanimous $9.6 million jury verdict against Diamond Offshore Services. The plaintiff was employed by Diamond Offshore on a semi-submersible drilling vessel, OCEAN LEXINGTON, as a drilling worker in January 2008 when he was injured while offshore Egypt.
The plaintiff is a Mississippi resident and was working for the Houston-based Diamond Offshore Services as a mechanical supervisor. He was ordered to unsafely repair a set of elevators, used to lift pipe into the drilling operations, to avoid a shutdown of the drilling operations being conducted for BP. Diamond Offshore’s failure to have sufficient elevator spares onboard, as well as its failure to properly maintain its equipment in a safe and seaworthy manner, created an unnecessary emergency situation and directly led to his career-ending back injury. The jury found that Diamond Offshore’s vessel was unseaworthy and its operational negligence was also responsible for Mr. Williams’ injuries.
Michael Patrick Doyle was lead trial lawyer and said, “Diamond Offshore promises a comprehensive safety program, at least on paper, but the jury’s verdict confirms, in practice, that Diamond Offshore is ready to jettison these critical equipment and operational standards to avoiding jeopardizing any shutdown financial penalties. The jury’s verdict supports the evidence of the company’s willingness to expose its own employees, rig and the environment to potentially disastrous consequences.”
Doyle Raizner has filed a Jones Act suit against Kirby Marine on behalf of an injured seaman. The seaman was injured while on Kirby’s vessel offshore near the coast of Texas.
The case falls under the Jones Act and maritime law due to the employment of the injured party as a seaman permanently assigned to the vessel and/or fleets of vessels of his employers. The case is also brought under general maritime law for denial of maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to the responsibility of a shipowner to provide medical care to an injured seaman until he has reached maximum medical care. Cure is the obligation of a shipowner to pay for medications and medical devices necessary to improve the injured seaman’s condition.
Kirby was negligent by failing to provide a safe working environment for their crew, which resulted in the dangerous conditions leading to the seaman’s injuries. Kirby’s vessel was unseaworthy due to the lack of non-skid surfacing on the vessel, which caused the seaman to fall down stairs.
Doyle Raizner stands with the injured seaman against Kirby to recover the maintenance and cure and other damages owed to the seaman.
Doyle Raizner has filed a Jones Act lawsuit against Helix Energy Solutions on behalf of a seaman who suffered a serious injury to his hand while working aboard a pipe-laying vessel in the Gulf of Mexico on February 17, 2010. Unfortunately, the vessel was not properly maintained by Helix, leading to unsafe working conditions. As a result, the seaman slipped and fell down a staircase, causing him to severely injure his left hand.
On June 25, 2012, Doyle Raizner filed a maritime lawsuit on behalf of a Jones Act seaman who was seriously injured in the course of his job earlier this year. The seaman’s injury was the result of his employer’s failure to maintain safe working
conditions on the jack-up rig that the seaman worked on in the Gulf of Mexico.
Doyle Raizner is proud to represent this Jones Act seaman, who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident that was entirely preventable, had his employer kept a safe work environment.
Doyle Raizner filed suit against Transocean on behalf of a seaman who was injured while working on a drilling vessel in June 2010. Transocean’s negligence in operating its drilling vessel caused a large piece of metal to come loose and strike him in the head, and resulting in serious and permanent injuries to the seaman. The suit was filed in Harris County, Texas on March 5, 2012.
On August 19, 2011, a Harris County jury unanimously confirmed WesternGeco Resources, Inc. as responsible for living expenses (maintenance) and medical care (cure) for an injury to the medic onboard its seismic vessel M/V GILIVAR off the shore of Equatorial Guinea in 2006. In addition to confirming that WesternGeco was responsible for maintenance and cure payments, WesternGeco was required to pay damages for unreasonable denial.
The jury rejected the claims by WesternGeco (a Houston-based subsidiary of Schlumberger) that it did not exercise any control over the operations or crewmembers onboard the vessel, the jury found in the first reported instance responsible as a “borrowing employer” for a crewmember placed and paid by a third-party contractor, Wadleigh, Inc.
Doyle Raizner represented the Plaintiff in his maritime and Jones Act claims.
On May 17, 2011, Doyle Raizner filed a martime lawsuit on behalf of a Jones Act seaman injured in the course of his job in February 2011. The seaman’s injury was the result of the dangerous and unseaworthy condition of the vessel that he was serving on. To make matters worse, his employer did not comply with the Jones Act provisions requiring it to pay for maintainance and cure until the seaman had recovered from his on-the-job injury.
Doyle Raizner recently filed suit against Golding Barge Line in the 149th District Court of Brazoria County on behalf of a crewmember injured off the coast of Texas, near Freeport. Doyle Raizner’s client is a Jones Act seaman. The lawsuit is based upon negligence (under the Jones Act), the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and the seaman’s employer’s refusal to pay maintenance and cure. As a result of the negligence of his employer and the unseaworthiness of the vessel, a cable snapped hitting the seaman and throwing him overboard. The seaman suffered multiple injuries, including injuries to his neck, head, and face. Doyle Raizner specializes in Jones Act and other Maritime cases and is proud to enforce this injured worker’s rights.