In 2010, eleven BP employees lost their lives when an off-shore oil drilling rig exploded. Many others were injured and the oil spill itself polluted numerous wetlands and destroyed several ecosystems. The spill continues to have personal, economic, and environmental effects along the Florida, Texas, and Louisiana coastlines. Because so many people are impacted by oil spills, there are numerous legal remedies for those who find themselves suffering as a result of these types of accidents. Oil spills can have extreme health, economic, and environmental effects, and can impact employees, residents, and business. If you work or live in an area that is near an oil spill, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can work with you to collect compensation for the harm you suffered.
The employees of oil rigs and their families are perhaps the most directly impacted by oil spills. These individuals are the most likely to be immediately injured in the event of a spill, but employees of barges and fishing boats can also suffer from injuries caused by explosions and contact with oil. Fortunately, people who work in this capacity can recover wages, expenses, and the cost of their injuries from their employer under the Jones Act.
To qualify as a “seamen” and be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act, a person must spend at least 30 percent of his or her time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters.
Crude oil can have severe health-related impacts. For instance, after spills, oil can leach into the ground, polluting the soil and drinking water. Health hazards generally associated with oil spills include:
- Respiratory problems;
- Dermatitis from repeated contact;
- Skin cancer;
- Migraines; and
Aside from illness and other health conditions, residents that live near a spill site may experience a loss of employment and decreases in property value. Fortunately, affected residents may be able to recover compensation for medical costs associated with treating illnesses caused by proximity to the oil spill as well as for economic damages.
Many businesses that are based on the fishing, boating, restaurant, hotel, and tourist industries are severely impacted by oil spills. A number of affected businesses experience a significant decrease in profits and income, as well as severe damage to their properties, which in turn lowers their value. Foreclosures are not uncommon among coastal towns that have experienced an oil spill. Fortunately, business owners can also recover compensation for these damages. Liable parties include drilling rigs, well contractors, and various manufacturers.
Whether your business has suffered, your property has been damaged, or your health has deteriorated, oil spills can have an extremely damaging and often permanent impact on the lives of coastal inhabitants, oil rig employees, and local wildlife. If you have been injured by an oil spill, please call (212) 397-1000 for a free consultation with one of our experienced environmental lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik, Attorneys at Law.