1. Recorded Statement
When you are injured, your company will immediately attempt to obtain a recorded statement from you. Additionally, some employers will hire an insurance company to look into your claim. The insurance representatives usually say they are trying to assist you, and that they simply need to document the injury. However, what you need to remember is that these representatives work for the company; they do not work for you. Typically they are taking the statement so that they can get more detailed knowledge about your history, the incident, and your injury so that they can transfer the fault of the accident from their shoulders onto yours. Never give a recorded statement to these representatives or to your company. It can severely impact your career and potential claim. We always recommend you talk to an experienced maritime attorney before giving any statements.
2. Video Surveillance
After you file your maritime claim – in fact, sometimes days after your injury – many companies will attempt to gather video surveillance of your activities. Your company might hire a private investigator to follow you, and if you continue to work or attempt regular activities, they might use the video footage to refuse to foot the bill for any medical treatment you receive.
3. Requiring You to See the Company Doctor
Your rights under maritime law allow you freedom of choice in selecting a treating physician. However, maritime companies will very often insist that if injured, you receive treatment from their own company doctor which can do irreparable damage to your maritime claim. Many company physicians will deny or put off necessary medical testing that could prove the severity of your injury. Instead, they advise you to wait and see if the injury heals on its own. These doctors will also try to convince you to resume working as early as possible, even though you have not yet acquired all the medical testing necessary. Once you have returned to the job, being approved for further treatment will be difficult, as your company will cite your ability to return to the job as proof that you are no longer injured.
4. Refusal of Physician Choice
Many times, your company will try to convince you that you are required to see the company physician at the onset of your treatment. Do not accept this as fact. You have the right to choose your own physician from the start, regardless of what your company might tell you. If you see their doctor first, and that doctor releases you to return to all previous activities and work, your company can use this as a reason to deny you the right to go to the physician of your choosing later. Stand your ground and insist on seeing the doctor that you trust for your treatment.
One tactic your maritime company will undoubtedly use in trial will be to try to catch you in a misstatement (“lie”), in an effort to damage your credibility. The content of the misstatement is irrelevant; even statements you made regarding an injury years before you ever worked for your current company, in an occupation with no connection to the maritime industry, could be called into question and ruin your case. From the start of your claim, your company is prosecuting you – every single statement you make and action you take will come into question by your company’s legal team. Though your case is legitimate and your injury real, the lawyers will attempt to shift the focus to your credibility as a witness in an effort to prove their innocence and your fault.
5 Tricks Your Company Will Use To Fight Your Offshore Injury Claim
Most offshore companies use 5 common tactics (or tricks) to fight your claim: (1) take a quick recorded statement from you trying to show that they were not at fault, and you may have been at fault, (2) send you to their choice of doctor as soon as possible, who will very often refuse to perform basic needed testing, (3) refuse to allow you to see a doctor of your choice, who may actually perform early needed medical testing that could prove your injury, (4) obtain video surveillance on your, often immediately after your injury occurs even before you have talked to or hired an attorney, and (5) catch you in a misstatement about ANYTHING (this is often done when they take the recorded statement from you- #1 above). Be very careful. These tricks can ruin your maritime injury claim and make it impossible to recover under the Jones Act or maritime law for your injury. Send us an email today if you have questions about these common tricks used to ruin your offshore Jones Act or maritime injury claim.
Injured offshore? Read more about your rights in this free, downloadable book, “The Employee’s Guide To Maritime Injury Law“.
If you have any questions about your injury or your rights, contact an experienced maritime attorney at The Young Firm at 504-680-4100.