Four electricians who suffered brain injuries while working on an oil rig have been awarded $1.375 million by a Texas jury. The three companies liable for the injuries are: Fire and Safety Specialists Inc., Noble Drilling Services Inc., and Keppel Amfels LLC. The money awarded will be split among the four men.
KGBT-TV in Texas reported that the men were working in the engine room of a dry docked oil rig when the room was flooded with carbon dioxide. Within a matter of seconds, the four men passed out. They were deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes and found unconscious, foaming at the mouth, and convulsing. The men now suffer from hypoxic brain injuries, including sleep problems, memory loss, and personality disorders. Three of the men are back at work, but suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
When an injury from toxic exposure occurs, a number of parties may be liable. These can include owners of the property on which the injury occurred, the employer of those injured, if they were injured while working, and other contractors who may have caused the toxic exposure to occur.
These four men were working in a room when a crew working on the rig’s fire-safety system flooded the room with carbon dioxide, without first making sure the room was clear, as safety protocols mandate. Violations of safety regulations that cause injury may be grounds for a finding of negligence per se.
Inspectors found that the carbon dioxide alarm in the engine room, which was not functioning, hadn’t worked for two years. Generally, property owners have a responsibility to maintain the rig’s safety equipment. In this case, jurors may have felt that the owners, as well as the operators of the oil rig, failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of employees and can be held liable for injuries that occurred as a result of their negligence.
Although injuries that occur on-the-job are typically covered by workers’ compensation laws, generally they only affect a worker’s ability to recover against an employer. Recovery against third parties, such as property owners, other contractors, or manufacturers of equipment generally will not be affected by a workers’ compensation award.
If you are injured in an on-the-job accident, you need an experienced attorney to guide you on the best way to be compensated for your injuries, lost wages and emotional distress. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).