Following the catastrophic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, nearly a third of the crewmembers turned to our firm for compassionate, effective legal guidance. Listen as our lawyers explain what the process was like.
Kurt and I have handled cases against all the major drilling companies and offshore services companies. Essentially, if you work for an offshore company, we’ve probably handled a case against them. One case that everyone always wants to know about is the Deepwater Horizon. Kurt and I represented about a third of the crew on the Deepwater Horizon. It was a range of injuries, from people who had orthopedic injuries, to people who had things that were much worse. What I would tell you is that their experiences are almost all the same. Everyone expects their company to take care of them, and the companies don’t.
After the Deepwater Horizon, a lot of guys from small towns all over Louisiana and Mississippi called me up and said, “I want to meet with you but I’m not ready to hire a lawyer.” I said, “That’s fine. Let me come talk to you.” So, I would go talk to them. They said, “Well, my supervisor came by my house and he said that they’re going to make me a good offer.” I said, “That’s fine, let me tell you your rights, call me if they don’t [make a good offer].” Sure enough, I started getting phone calls because what started happening? The company wouldn’t approve them to see the doctor they wanted to see, saying, “You can’t go to your own doctor, you have to go to the company doctor.” Guys weren’t able to get the medical care they wanted. Some would call me about that and I helped them get the medical care they wanted. Next thing you know they started getting cut off. The worst thing about that is that about five months after the accident, Transocean sent a letter to all these guys who had worked for them, most of them, for 10 or 20 years. They said, “You give up your rights to bring a claim against BP, Transocean, and everybody else in the world and we’ll give you six month’s pay.” They basically said, “I understand that you’re hurt. I understand that you were in the worst accident in our history, but we don’t care and we’ll pay you for six months. If you don’t [give up rights], we’re cutting off your benefits and you’re fired.”
We have fought for the rights of injured offshore workers, both in cases that people read about in the newspaper like the Deepwater Horizon and in cases that nobody ever knows about. But we fight every case and treat every case with that same aggressiveness and the same compassion. We really try to go all out and whether it’s in the newspaper or not, you’re going to have a lawyer who’s fighting for your side. If the company doesn’t take responsibility, you’ll have a lawyer who can take your case to the courtroom and present it to a jury. One of the great things about the legal system is that when you’ve got a company, say for example in the Deepwater Horizon as big as BP, and an individual from a small town in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas… you can come into the courtroom as equals. An offshore worker from Louisiana can hold a company as big as BP responsible.
Maritime workers can experience catastrophic accidents involving lifeboats.