Large corporations frequently disregard safety regulations in an effort to increase their bottom line. When they do so, tragic accidents can occur, resulting in injuries and death. Sometimes the number of injuries and deaths can be staggering.
In 2010, an offshore oil drilling rig owned by BP blew up off the coast of Louisiana when a surge of methane known as a “kick” sparked an explosion. Eleven workers were killed and the rig, called the Deepwater Horizon, sank two days later. Oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months, however, polluting the coast in several states.
A U.S. district judge said last month that BP was “grossly negligent” for its role in the spill, the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history. The new ruling could add billions of dollars in fines to the more than $42 billion already levied against the petroleum giant.
The judge said that the results of a test on the stability of the oil well, had it been interpreted properly, could have prevented the catastrophe.
This gross negligence ruling carries a potential fine of $4,300 per barrel, and with as many as 4.9 million barrels spilled, fines should reach into the billions. The ruling also seriously increases BP’s liability for civil penalties.
Not surprisingly, BP announced it would appeal the decision.
If your family member died in a work-related disaster, you may qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits based on the projected income your loved one would have earned over a full career. Securing workers’ compensation, however, often requires the assistance of a skilled attorney. The Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland personal injury attorneys of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. have decades of experience.
Call us today for a free consultation, and let us help you retrieve the compensation you deserve.
Did You Know? A third phase of the civil trial over the BP disaster is scheduled for January 2015. It could result in even more fines.
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.