January 15, 2019 — An oil field worker who was left quadriplegic after a light improperly attached to an oil drilling rig fell over 100 feet onto his head has accepted a $44 million settlement against five companies.
The lawsuit was filed by oil worker James Burgess and his wife, Kay Sharon Burgess, who live in rural Texas.
According to the lawsuit, Burgess was working on a drilling rig owned by Patterson Drilling Services in December 2012 when a 4-foot LED light fell onto his head, compressed his spinal cord, and left him permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
Lawyers for the Burgess family allege that Clark Electrical Contractors installed the lights without proper safety cables. Patterson Drilling Services was also accused of failing to perform safety inspections that might have discovered that the lights were not attached to the rig.
About 90 minutes before the accident, the electrician who installed the lights noticed that one had been knocked loose and was hanging from its power cord, according to the report. The light was removed, but no one performed a safety inspection of the other lights.
Dialight, the manufacturer of the light, allegedly advertised the lights to the oil and gas industry for use on drilling rigs. However, the light fixtures lacked anchors that would allow it to be attached to safety cables.
The lawsuit was filed in the in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Dialight, National Oilwell Varco, Clark Electrical Contractors, Cabot Petroleum North Sea Ltd., and Patterson Drilling Services.
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