The potential for blowouts and other serious accidents can make oil fields
a challenging place in which to earn a living. Fortunately, blowouts are
less common than they once were.
Bakken Blowouts Do Happen
A December 2012 blowout near Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota sent a mixture
of oil, gas and salt 50 feet into the air. Fluid was escaping under extremely
high pressure through a narrow pipe just 2 3/8-in in diameter, and specialists
had to be called in from Texas to bring the blowout under control. Effluent
stained the snow-covered ground 1,000-ft from the wellhead.
When a blowout occurs due to recklessness or other forms of negligence, serious
oil field injury loss of life may result. Drillers, roughnecks, derrickhands and other
workers may all face danger. Pressure can build up in vast underground
oil and gas reservoirs, and if this pressure is released in an uncontrolled
manner, there can easily be enough force to damage the rig and potentially
Wide-ranging Liability Potential
When a blowout or other dangerous event happens at an oil rig, a thorough
investigation may uncover culpability that extends beyond the employer.
Those that manufacture, install and/or maintain oil field equipment may
face liability if an accident causes injury or loss of life. For example,
if a blowout preventer were to fail, the manufacturer may be found culpable.
Therefore, an injury or fatality may give rise to legal issues that extend
well beyond workers' compensation claims.
Injuries Can Be Serious
The sheer force of a blowout can cause concussive injuries that can unfortunately
be life-changing. Hearing loss and traumatic brain injuries may result.
Compound fractures and spinal injuries are also possible. All it takes
is one spark for the blowout to result in a fire and/or explosion. Then,
permanent disfigurement may result.
It is clear that the stakes may be high when a blowout occurs. A concise,
capable and competent investigation can uncover negligent conduct that
may justify the filing of a lawsuit in a civil court with proper jurisdiction.
Depending upon the facts of a given case, compensation may be sought for
a wide variety of relevant factors, including, but not limited to, pain
and suffering, permanent injury, long-term rehabilitation costs, ongoing
prescription expenses and other losses.
For more information, or to discuss the details of your personal situation
with an attorney focused on this area of the law, please