If you are injured while working offshore due to the negligence of your employer or another company, you may be entitled to compensation. What you do not know can end up hurting you. The steps an offshore worker takes immediately after being injured ultimately determine whether or not they will be treated fairly or not. All too often, injured offshore workers make the same mistake—they trust the insurance company.
What Happens After an Offshore Worker is Injured?
When an offshore worker is injured, their employer and/or other responsible parties will notify their insurance providers. The insurance provider opens a file and assigns it to a claims adjuster (or the company handles the claim internally through their risk management department). The claims adjuster is not working to help the injured offshore worker. He or she is responsible for resolving the worker’s claim for as little money as possible—insurance companies are a business first after all. In order to save the insurance company money, the claims adjuster will: (a) review medical records; (b) collect medical bills; (c) claim the injured offshore worker’s medical expenses are too high; (d) diligently work to blame the offshore worker for their injuries; find reasons to claim the injuries suffered by the worker, are not “serious” or were caused by something other than their insured; (e) pay experts to claim injuries are not severe; and (f) force injured offshore workers to see doctors hired by the insurance company.
Importantly, the insurance adjuster and not your employer (or responsible person company) decides how much they will offer to settle the injured offshore worker’s claim.
Put simply, the claims adjuster has one job—use his or her skills and experience to find ways to reduce the amount of money they think the injured worker is entitled to receive. In that vein, the adjuster will immediately begin to take steps to minimize your claim against the insurance company.
How Does the Claims Adjuster Reduce the Amount of Money an Injured Offshore Worker is Entitled to Receive?
One of the first things the claims adjuster will likely do is approach the injured offshore worker in an amicable and seemingly caring manner. The claims adjuster will appear sympathetic to the offshore worker’s injuries and pain and suffering. The claims adjuster will tell them that they understand what they are going through. In reality, the claims adjuster hopes that they can get the injured offshore worker to say something to them on a recorded statement that can be used to save the insurance company some money.
Offshore workers need to remember that no matter how much their employer seems to care about them and their injuries, or how nicely the insurance company treats them, the company, and more importantly, the insurance company, will put their interests above their workers – to pay out as little compensation as possible.
What Can Offshore Workers Do to Protect Their Rights?
Injured offshore workers should refrain from doing any of the following until they hire an experienced attorney:
- Giving any recorded statements (you should notify your employer immediately regarding the fact that the incident occurred)
- Signing any documents.
Injured offshore workers should be wary of anything their employer asks them to do. Place your trust in yourself and your attorney, not in the insurance company, your employer, or the person/company responsible for your injuries.
If a claims adjuster contacts an injured offshore worker before they have had the opportunity to hire an attorney (some claims adjusters will go to the hospital while injured offshore workers are recovering or waiting to be admitted for treatment), they should tell the adjuster that they wish to contact an attorney for advice before giving a recorded statement. If the adjuster balks at this request, it is clear that the claims adjuster does not have the injured offshore worker’s best interest in mind, and the injured offshore worker has even more reason to hire an attorney.
If you or a loved one is an offshore worker that has been injured or tragically killed, you should contact the offshore injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP for a free, confidential consultation. We will evaluate your claim and guide you through the litigation process. If you would like to learn and preserve your legal rights, please call us toll-free at 800-489-2216 or complete our online contact form.