Maritime workers face some of the greatest challenges. They work in a volatile environment, where the weather can change at any moment and the ocean waters are unpredictable. The hazards don’t stop there, as crewmembers are sometimes negligent, the decks are slick, and the equipment doesn’t always operate correctly.
“There are laws that protect offshore workers, which allow them to obtain compensation for their injuries,” says Southern California injury lawyer Jim Ballidis. Unfortunately, many mistakes are often made along the way, impacting the amount of money recovered.
If you have been injured offshore, here are some mistakes that you need to avoid:
1. Allowing your employer to pressure you to see the company doctor. Despite what your employer might tell you, seeing the company doctor is not a requirement. You have the right to be treated by a physician of your choice.
2. Giving a recorded statement about the accident. You want to be able to trust your employer and the insurance company, but the truth of the matter is that you need to focus on protecting yourself. The most common question we get from clients who are injured offshore is whether they are required to give a recorded statement to the company or its insurance adjuster. The answer is no.”
3. Not filing a claim out of fear of being blackballed. Being “blacklisted” or “blackballed” is a frequent concern of injured maritime workers. They are afraid that they will be shunned in the industry if they pursue a legal claim. In reality, it rarely happens and when it does, usually the worker had a history of filing frivolous lawsuits.
4. Hiring the wrong maritime lawyer. The number one mistake I see when representing and advising injured offshore workers, Jones Act seamen, and maritime workers is hiring the wrong lawyer. At that point, it is often too late.