In 2010, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caused one of the most massive oil spills ever seen. It is hard to calculate the vast ecological and economic damage that resulted. Ohio and the rest of the world sat in horror as oil fires burned on the open ocean and many local residents lost their livelihood.
Often, the magnitude of the disaster has overshadowed the fact that the incident was, in part, a workplace accident. Workplace injuries killed eleven workers in this incident and seriously harmed many more. When job-related accidents cause injuries or deaths, the victims or their survivors are entitled to file workers’ compensation claims, and in some cases personal injury or wrongful death litigation.
Workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault insurance system, can cover costs associated with medical care, loss of wages, and even loss of future earning capacity. When negligence contributes to the injury or fatality, a claimant may chose to pursue civil litigation. Workplace injury attorneys can provide guidance on which type of claim is appropriate for each unique situation.
At least 40 lawsuits were filed by or on behalf of the oil rig’s 126-member crew, according to news reports, but BP and its partners seem to be doing their best to settle out of court. For example, in late February, one rig-worker dropped a lawsuit against BP after coming to an undisclosed agreement with the company. The worker had already settled with both Cameron International and Halliburton Energy Services.
This worker’s settlements with multiple companies illustrate how complicated workplace injury claims can be. When several business entities have an interest in and control over a work environment, the question of ultimate responsibility becomes complex. In addition, no employer is going to roll over and pay any more money than it must. A BP spokesman, for instance, said that the company only settles for “reasonable” amounts and will go to court if the request is not “reasonable.”
While Ohio workplace accidents are not quite on the same scale as a major oil spill, nor do they receive the same mediattention, the litigation that follows can be similarly complicated. Working with an experienced attorney in Ohio can make this process much easier and help relieve some of the burdens associated with workplace injuries.
Source: Bloomberg, “BP Settles With Injured Deepwater Horizon Worker,” Joe Schneider, Feb. 20, 2012