Fires and explosions can cause injuries ranging from minor burns and smoke inhalation to 3rd degree burns, respiratory illness, and the impact of contents under pressure. Regardless of the injury, you will need the counsel of an attorney who specializes in maritime law in the Gulf Coast. The law is difficult to navigate and differs greatly from traditional workers compensation. Lapeze & Johns has over 20 years of experience trying and litigating maritime cases. Our offshore fires and explosions attorneys can recover the damages you are due and help you get on with your life.
Fire and Explosion Factors
The potential for injury arising from offshore and near shore vessels is high, as is the chance of being injured in an on-board fire or explosion. Creating fire requires three elements: oxygen, heat, and fuel. Ships and other vessels commonly have all three in many on-board areas.
Boiler rooms and other areas that house heavy machinery use fuel and gases that are under high pressure in pipes. Corroded pipes and poorly maintained technology has the potential to come apart or leak at sea and provide another cause of on-board fires and explosions. Leaks in combination with friction or a lit cigarette create a recipe for disaster.
Any fuel or oil that has puddled from a leak or spill and is not properly disposed of increases the risk of an on-board fire. Even oily rags left unattended in the wrong area can contribute to other fire-starting elements or may self-ignite. Thermophilic bacteria, which produce heat and thrive in warm environments like boiler rooms and trash cans, can increase the chances of a fire.
Cargo can potentially contain fire starting materials. If the hazardous containers are not handled appropriately, the consequential fire or explosion may be serious. Ventilation systems that malfunction may cause a buildup of gases and result in fires if a spark is ignited. Collisions with other ships can burst fuel tanks. Fires that are started from fuel spread quickly, and what starts as a small fire can rapidly get out of control.
Fire hazards should be monitored by all who work on an offshore vessel, and mechanics should be particularly careful when servicing equipment. When the job at hand takes priority, however, it is easy for a greasy rag or other fire hazard to go unnoticed. Even a light bulb falling can be a fire hazard at sea.
According to the CDC, onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction had a fatality rate 7 times higher than that of all other workers in the United States. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion claimed the lives of 11 workers and injured 16 more. Offshore wrongful death claims must be handled by an experienced Louisiana offshore fires and explosions attorney who specializes in maritime law and maritime injury claims. The Deepwater Horizon case is well-known because of the media attention given to it as an explosion that caused the largest oil spill in history. In reality, there are accidents and injuries due to fires and explosions on offshore vessels all the time.
If You Are Injured
If you are injured in an offshore fire or explosion, seek medical attention immediately. Take pictures of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and any contributing factors you can see. Never admit fault in the fire if you aim to seek compensation; doing so may reflect badly on your case if a claim goes to court. Get names of any witnesses who saw the accident. All of this information will help your offshore fires and explosions attorney determine the chances of your claim’s success under maritime law.
The attorneys at Lapeze & Johns have experience in hundreds of maritime injury claims and are prepared to evaluate your case for free. Call to learn more about the services we provide in Louisiana, Texas, and throughout the Gulf Coast. Our Houston Maritime Lawyers are prepared to fight aggressively for your case and get you the compensation you deserve for your fire or explosion related injury.