Will I be Punished or "Blacklisted" for Filing an Offshore Injury Claim?
If you have been injured while working offshore, chances are your injury was a serious one. You may be worried about paying your bills, providing for your family and your future ability to continue working in the industry. You may even be concerned that, by filing a suit to help relieve some of your financial burdens, you may be placing yourself on a "blacklist" that will prevent you from ever finding offshore work again. As offshore injury experts, we at Arnold & Itkin believe it is vitally important for injured workers like yourself to file claims if you have been injured on the job. Here's why:
You are likely not the first person to experience a similar injury, but you could be the last.
If company negligence, faulty equipment or incompetent employees caused your accident or injury, and you fail to file suit, you are leaving future workers at risk of suffering the same fate. By filing a claim with an attorney against the offending parties that caused your injury, you are helping to call attention to a problem, hopefully leading to a remedy that will prevent future injuries.
Even if you are not blacklisted, you may never work offshore again.
Most offshore employers want potential employees to submit to extensive pre-job physicals. If you have been injured while working offshore, even if you return to almost your full capacity, chances are good that you will not pass these types of medical tests. Bringing a legal claim with an experienced attorney after an injury can help secure a settlement that will provide for you and your family in the event that you are medically unfit to return to offshore work.
If you don't file suit, you may have to keep working.
If you have sustained even what appears to be a minor injury while working offshore and you fail to bring suit against your employer, you may be required to return to work before it is medically safe for you to do so. This is incredibly dangerous and highly inadvisable. What your employer deems to be a minor injury may, in fact, be made worse by returning to work. Filing suit against your employer after sustaining an injury offshore will ensure that unbiased medical experts will be the ones to decide if and when it is safe for you to return to your job. Filing a claim with an offshore injury attorney will also ensure that you are compensated for the time that you are unable to work due to that injury.
The "industry blacklist" is a myth
Many potential clients are concerned about the existence of a 'black list' in the offshore oil industry. This list supposedly identifies people who have been blocked from working in the industry because they either had a serious accident or they made a claim against a former employer. These clients are concerned that if they file suit for a serious injury, they will never be able to work offshore again. Attorney Jason Itkin, co-founder of Arnold & Itkin LLP, a maritime law firm, explains, "The blacklist is just a myth that the offshore industry has worked to spread." Co-founder Kurt Arnold further explains, "I've never seen this blacklist and I don't think it exists. I've represented guys who, after filing a lawsuit and recovering medically, are able to go back to work offshore. They couldn't do that if there really was a blacklist."
The law is on your side
In addition to legal provisions that require companies to pay injured offshore workers’ medical bills, and to compensate them for lost wages due to injury, there are now laws in place to prevent offshore companies from trying to 'blacklist' workers. In fact, when a worker's past employer is called for a reference, he or she is not legally permitted to discuss the fact that a claim may have been filed by the employee against the company.
Taking the Next Step Toward Your Deserved Compensation
If you have been injured while working offshore, your first and most important concern should be your legal right to compensation toward your rehabilitation. If your employer threatens that you will be blacklisted for filing an injury claim, you should contact an offshore injury attorney immediately, since the company clearly does not have your best interests at heart and you will need a legal advocate.
An attorney from Arnold & Itkin LLP will be pleased to offer you a free consultation and determine the best course of legal action for you. Contact Arnold & Itkin today and get started on your way back to work.