You guys are the backbone of the rig. You make things happen and physically do all of the work. But you are also the most likely to suffer an injury of anyone on the rigs. I know this because I work with you guys every day.
Why an Offshore Injury May be Harder on You Than Some Other People
As an injured roustabout or floorhand, here are a few key points about your injury.
Unfortunately your position is very easily replaced by your company. Much more so than with OIMs, Toolpushers and Drillers, your position can be filled by lots of guys on land who are eager to work offshore.
You have to be 110% healthy in order to physically do the very heavy work you do for 12 hours a day, 28 days in a row. The point is after you get injured, chances are you won’t be with your company for much longer. Sure, they’ll definitely want to get you back to work, for a limited time. Read this important article to find out why. But odds are you will either not be able to perform the extremely heavy work required of you, or your company will replace you with a perfectly healthy person they can simply train in a matter of weeks (unlike OIMs and Toolpushers who take years to train).
Finally, I find that you guys are more likely to be coached or pressured into going to just the company doctor or company chosen doctors for medical treatment after your injury. And this can be a serious mistake. Why would the company doctor ever recommend testing for you that may prove you have an injury? All this does is hurt your company and requires your company to keep you off of work longer, or pay you more for your claim.
Your Company Procedures May Not Have Been as Safe as They Could Be
Another common thing I see in helping injured roustabouts and floorhands is that you very often don’t know if something was done wrong or not which may have caused your injury. I often hear guys say, “Well, that’s the way we always did the job, so nothing was done wrong.” Just because your company always did a job a certain way does not mean it was done safely. Under the law your company has to do the job in the safest available way, not simply the way they ‘always’ did it, or even the way other companies do it. In fact, this is the actual law in your claim:
“You must determine if the operation in question was reasonably safe under the circumstances. The fact that a certain practice has been continued for a long period of time does not necessarily mean that it is reasonably safe under all circumstances. A long accepted practice may be an unsafe practice.”
Safeguard Your Future by Documenting Everything
You have to properly document your injury and why it occurred. More so than with other positions on the rigs, roustabouts and floorhands seem to be willing to give their company a helpful statement right after the accident, saying that the injury was ‘just an accident’ and no one was to blame for it (even if this is completely untrue!). If you do give a recorded statement after your accident (which you shouldn’t do), then be sure to explain anything that was done wrong which caused or even contributed to your injury. The higher up positions such as OIMs and Toolpusher are more likely to actually blame the company in a recorded statement than you guys are, yet you all are the ones much less likely to actually keep your jobs after your injuries.
Looking 2-3 Years in the Future
You have to think about your future. You face the struggle of often just starting out your careers, and you tend to be much younger than the Drillers, Crane Operators and others senior positions on your rig. This means that you may have younger children at home to provide for and you are unlikely to have a lot of savings to live on after your injury. While you may think this means that you should do whatever you can to keep the company happy, I disagree. I think it means you have to focus on your life in 2 or 3 years or more down the road and be sure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to for your injury. Your injury is about more than the next 6 months of your life; it is about the rest of your life and what you can and can’t physically do any longer.
I know that you may live paycheck to paycheck and the only thing on your mind is getting back to the rig as fast as you can. The financial pressure is intense, but you have to think long term. You may have Short or Long Term Disability that can protect you after your injury.
Call me today so I can discuss all your financial options and how you can survive while your claim moves forward. Don’t ruin your claim for a fraction of what it may be worth—it involves your future.