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Senate Proposal Would Allow Greater Wrongful Death Compensation

A bill proposed at the United States Senate would allow for greater wrongful death compensation for the family members of the 11 oil rig workers that died during the April BP rig explosion. The bill has the potential to allow the families of the rig workers to receive similar legal compensation available for accidents that occur on land. Unfortunately, a broad bill that applied to all offshore accidents and a bill that addressed the BP rig explosion accident were not passed.

Currently, family members whose loved ones die offshore cannot receive legal compensation for pain and suffering and for loss of companionship, but that compensation is available for family members whose loved ones die during land-based accidents. The proposed bill would have evened the compensation field for offshore accidents.

The original version of the proposed bill was supposed to provide equal compensation to families of victims of any offshore accident. Apparently, the cruise line industry objected to the legislation and the bill was rewritten to provide equal compensation for the families of the BP rig explosion. That bill was proposed during a process that required unanimous consent from the voting senators; however, Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., objected to the bill.

Representative Melancon, a Democrat from Napoleonville, said he was deeply disappointed that the effort was blocked especially for the families of those who died in the BP oil rig explosion. There is no word as of yet whether the bill will be reintroduced again. For now, legal compensation for wrongful death suits will remain dissimilar.

Source: Times-Picayune, “Bill Seeking More Generous Compensation for Oil Rig Explosion Deaths Hits Roadblock,” Bruce Alpert, 12/10/10

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