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Orange County Oil Spill Personal Injury and Illness Attorney

On Saturday, October 2, 2021, the first reports of an oil spill off the coast of Orange County, California were received. Around 144,000 gallons of crude oil from the spill have entered the Pacific Ocean, creating an oil slick that spans about 8,320 acres. If you or a loved one has an injury, illness or disease associated with the Orange County oil spill, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The Orange County personal injury attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can help you protect your rights and seek justice against the company responsible for the oil spill.

Crude Oil Is Toxic for Humans and Wildlife

Part of what makes an oil spill such a tragedy is that it is extremely dangerous for humans and wildlife. Crude oil is a highly toxic substance that clings to anything it touches and is very difficult to remove. Although county officials began closing down beaches in Huntington, Newport and Laguna on Sunday and Monday, many swimmers, divers and surfers were exposed to crude oil in the water before these announcements were made.

Being around crude oil can cause many health problems for victims:

  • Touching crude oil with any part of the skin can lead to related skin irritation and rashes. 
  • Getting crude oil in the eyes can cause serious harm and eye irritation.
  • Ingesting crude oil can cause poisoning, with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Inhaling crude oil vapors can cause respiratory irritation, chemical pneumonia, and breathing problems, as well as headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea.
  • Prolonged exposure to crude oil can cause an irregular heartbeat, organ damage, seizures, coma and death.

The risks related to crude oil increase for vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women and the elderly. As an Orange County resident, you should avoid going to the beach and do not swim until county health officials have cleared the oil from the water and confirmed that it is safe to return. The public has been encouraged not to try to help clean up the water, the beaches or any animals themselves, as the oil is toxic. If you come across any animals that are covered in oil and in need of help, contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877-823-6926.

Who Is Responsible for the Orange County Oil Spill?

The cause of the Orange County oil spill is still under investigation. The company that owns the offshore oil platform where the spill took place is Amplify Energy, a company based in Houston. The CEO of Amplify Energy, Martyn Willsher, said during a news conference that the company’s divers have inspected more than 8,000 feet of pipeline as of Tuesday morning (October 5) and has pinpointed a specific area of interest. However, the exact cause of the oil spill remains undetermined.

The District Attorney for Orange County, Todd Spitzer, was adamant that those who should be investigating the oil spill are law enforcement officers, not Amplify Energy’s own divers, as they are “biased and self-interested.” Initial reports have stated that a 17-mile-long pipeline that runs from the Port of Long Beach to a processing oil platform called Elly is bent, has a split in it and has been displaced on the ocean floor by 105 feet. When asked if a ship’s anchor might have been in the wrong place and struck the pipeline, Willsher answered that it was one of the distinct possibilities. 

You May Be Eligible for Financial Compensation | Contact Us Today for Help

Federal law makes oil companies financially responsible for the oil spills that they cause. If investigators find Amplify Energy to be at fault for the Orange County oil spill, the company will have to pay for victims’ injuries, property damage, medical bills, business losses and other damages associated with the catastrophe. 

If you or a loved one has been injured by the oil spill, contact Bentley & More LLP for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. We understand how significantly an oil spill can impact victims and are committed to helping our clients recover.