HomeTestimonialsDeckhand Tells About How the Company Mistreated Him After an Injury

Deckhand Tells About How the Company Mistreated Him After an Injury

“It was just nice to call your office and have the questions answered, and to speak with someone who could tell you this, this, and this. You asked a question, they answered it.”

 

“Whenever I clicked on The Young Firm, it just seemed so much more friendly than all the others.”Joe S. | Mountain Home, AR | Hand & Knee Injury

0:01 [Sue]:  I’m Sue, and this is my husband Joe, and we are from Mountainhome, Arkansas about ten hours away from his port, which was in Galliano. The 26th of November 2011 was probably the happiest and the scariest day of my life. [Joe] I got knocked off a boat offshore, got injured.

Thrown Overboard During Unsafe Docking Procedures

0:30 His captain had decided that he wanted to tie up to a platform in extremely rough seas and because he got good signal on his computer so he could watch the Alabama game. So because Joe is the most experienced deckhand that they had, they put him back on the back deck to throw the line to the platform, he was in eight to ten foot seas at the time, and ended up as he was backing to the platforms with the winds wrong, and the seas wrong, threw him into the platform, which subsequently knocked him overboard and trapped him in between the boat and the platform.

The Captain is Supposed to Keep You Safe

1:14 [Joe]: Well when you’re out there you do what your captain tells you, and your captain is supposed to keep you safe, and you’re supposed to do what your captain says. And we were told at the time to go in and …Because the seas were gonna get rough, and we had no business being out there. But he told me to go out there and tie up, and we told …

We went back up and told the captain that it wasn’t a good idea, and he said he didn’t wanna come in, drive eight hours. So I went out there anyway and tied up, and as we’re doing so, he hit the platform and knocked me off into the water.

2:00 [Sue]: He was stuck underneath the platform trying to hold on for dear life to a six-inch piece of rope as he told me, that just happened to be dangling off this platform at the time. And he could see his entire crew scrambling the deck not knowing what to do. It was complete chaos, the seas were getting rougher, and rougher. He ended up having to ride a swell up onto the deck so he could stand there and hopefully get back on his boat when they threw a line … Did they throw a line to you? I can’t remember this.

You Think You’re Ready But You’re Not

2:39 [Joe]: No, they didn’t. They didn’t know what to do. You think you’re ready, but when it actually happens no one really knew what to do. But I had to get back up on the deck myself. And then finally swing over back onto the boat.

3:00 [Sue]: When he got back on the deck he had about a probably three-inch cut on the palm of his hand, and the chief engineer told the captain, “We’re going in, that’s all there is to it.” So they had to ride eight hours back into Freeport, Texas to get him to an emergency room, and that’s whenever he called me. We had just got our granddaughter home from the hospital, she was four days old. And I was so excited that he called me, ’cause I was gonna tell him, “Maddie’s home, Maddie’s home!”

Knew That Something Was Not Right

3:30 And he told me in a very broke up signal that he was going to the hospital ’cause he had been thrown overboard. And when he got to the port after a conversation with his safety officer, who had asked him if he had a credit card who could pay for his taxi to get to the hospital was when I knew that something was not right.

3:52 They were not taking care of him, and he was in a lot of pain, with not only his cut hand, but his knee, and his shoulder, and his arm was hurting. And he was not in good shape. He ended up riding to the hospital by himself when they got back into port. The hospital told him that they could not sew up his hand, they had to leave it open because of all the bacteria that’s in the Gulf. So he was stuck with a wrapped up hand, and a couple of conversations with the safety officer, he ended up having to stay in port until they had a crew change, which was three days later.

4:33 They did the crew change, brought him back in to town, and told him, “Oh, we’re gonna take care of you, we’re gonna send you to our doctor who’s gonna look at you, and they’re gonna make everything better, and we’re gonna send you home for a month,” because he was working 28, 14s, “And we’re gonna let you recoup and come back, and it’s all gonna be good.”

4:54 And it just kinda bothered me whenever things kept changing the way they were going to do things. They were gonna pay him for his time off, and then they weren’t gonna pay him for his time off. And no, you’re gonna get better, we’re gonna stick you in the shipyard. One thing led to another, and I got on the computer and I put in injured offshore deckhands, and that’s whenever I saw your ad and several others.

Making the Decision to Seek Help

5:17 And whenever I clicked on The Young Firm, it just seemed so much more friendly than all the others. I got to chat briefly with someone online, and then he gave me a call, and took my information. Because I still, he was still hurt. And then I spoke with you, Tim, briefly, and you told me exactly what was going to happen. I mean, the sequence of events that were supposed to happen with him was going to happen. He was gonna try and go back to work, which he did. And he couldn’t take it, it was seven days of probably the scariest time he’d ever been on that boat. [Joe] Yep.

6:00 He was physically hurt, he was mentally just completely freaked out about being on that boat. And you were still apprehensive about doing anything against your company because you really thought that they were gonna treat you right. You just kept saying, “No, we’re just gonna wait to do anything else legally, we’re just gonna see what they’ll do for us.” And after a week he came off the boat again, called his safety officer and said, “I cannot do this,” and his safety officer really flipped on him at that point and told him, “Well, you can have two weeks, and that’s gonna be it. We’ll bring you back in and put you in the shipyard.”

Broken Promises

6:42 And that’s exactly what you had said was going to happen. You said that they were gonna give you all kinds of promises, they were going to send you to their doctor, which they had, they were going to try and put you in the shipyard and get you well again. And we knew all along what was actually gonna happen was they were going to get him back to work, and then they were going to fire him, and that was going to be it.

7:03 So we spoke … I had talked to Joe on several occasions without trying to push because I knew he was going through so much pain and anxiety with the whole thing. And we got Tim on the phone, and we did a conference call with him. Remember? [Joe] Yeah.

You’re Gonna Have a Spy

7:24 And Tim told him this, this, this, this is gonna happen. Watch, you’re gonna have a spy who you’re gonna … You’re gonna have a guy who’s gonna follow you around. And we just could not believe that any of this was happening, that exactly what you were telling us, and we had never met you, that this was exactly what was going to happen, and everything was transpiring just like they said.

7:50 His safety officer had him on the phone at one point and was really very angry, and indignant with him. And telling him that he mentioned to Joe that if he was going to sue him, to let him know, see if they could work something out. And we had never even discussed any of that type of stuff with him.

Seeking Medical Treatment

8:11 So ended up going to more doctors, psychiatrists, had all kinds of appointments set up because now we’re finding out that he had problems with his knee, and his shoulder and his fingers were numb in his hand from is ulnar nerve, and the cut on his hand was now healing, but he still had problems with his fingers.

Living Life Under Surveillance

8:42 We decided to take all of Tim’s advice, and put everything into a pot and stir it around a little bit, and we decided this is it, we need legal help because they were not doing it for him. And sure enough, after about two weeks I think after we had discussed everything with Tim, we were outside and we saw this guy driving by in an SUV with blacked out windows. And he almost runs off the road, because he was staring at us. And it was kind of funny, and our daughter had gone to school, and we had told her what had happened with this SUV, and she called us, and she says, “The guy that you’re talking about with the SUV is following me.” And she was going to school, she was only 17. And this was not good.

9:33 So a little while later I went to the store, and the SUV was parked just down the street, and I called Joe and I said, “That truck is down here.” And he says, “Come get me.” So I went and picked him up, and we pulled up right next to him, and Joe approached him and said, “What are you doing?” And the guy made some excuse about looking for 4G towers or something in the area. And he asked if there was a problem, and Joe said, “No, not right now.” And that was our spy. And everything was just coming full circle what Tim had told us was going to happen.

Never be Able to Make it Offshore Again

10:10 We started going to different surgeries. Joe had a surgery a month beginning in March, and just recently had his last surgery on his ankle. He was told by his last surgeon he will never be able to make it offshore. And this is a man who was, in his time off was going to school and getting his upgrades, and really going for his mate’s license, and eventually going to become a captain. This was his career, this was what he was going to do the rest of his life. And because of the negligence of the captain, and the selfishness, it’s not gonna happen anymore.

Working with Our Office

10:55 After…not too long of a time, to be honest about it, months though went by. Paperwork, and doctor visits, and this, and that, it’s just so nice that Tim and everyone at this office made it so easy for us though. There was never a correspondence that wasn’t responded to. There was never emails that were not replied to in a quick time. Phone calls were always returned, and it was just so positive to know that someone ten hours away from where we lived was helping us out, and was going to make this right. Because his company of four-plus years was not doing anything to help him out.

The Mediation Process

11:42 The mediation process was pretty cool. It was pretty cool. It was a little weird to see the safety officer there with their attorney. But we knew that some representative from his company was going to be there. And that went really well.  [Joe] Very comfortable.

12:03 When we went to the mediation process, everyone met in a room and we sat around a very large table, and Jason and Tim gave different facts of the case, and talked about different things that they had for Joe. And then the other side had a slideshow and talked about all the depositions that they had taken, and all the information that they had received from everybody else, trying to basically discount everything that Tim and Jason had had. And when they left the room, it was kind of funny, because I asked Tim, I said, “Is that it? That’s all they’ve got?” Because we knew that his injuries and everything that he had been through were, they were really basically grabbing at straws.

12:54 It was the back and forth between a very nice gentleman whose name I cannot remember. But anyways, he would go from room to room and speak with them, and come back and tell us this, and tell us this. And after about … It wasn’t very long, maybe about four, five hours or so maybe at the most. It wasn’t that long. We all decided that what was going to transpire was the final number and …

13:22 [Joe]: It was a big relief, getting it all done. And it was pretty comfortable in the mediation. It wasn’t what I expected it to be you know as far as tense goes. You guys made it pretty comfortable and had made us at ease as far as that went.

Glad We Didn’t Go to Trial

13:40 [Sue]: Yeah. I was glad we didn’t go to trial, because for one thing, it was gonna be another month that this whole thing was going to be going on. And this whole process is involved, but if you really keep your paperwork squared away, and you really just keep good records for everything. And everybody knows between your office, and between us, everybody knew what was going on. We’re on the same page. It really, truly helped to make the whole process just be done and over with. I was glad we didn’t go to trial, only because I don’t think it would’ve been necessary. I think mediation was perfect. It really worked out, it didn’t need to go to trial.

If We Hadn’t Filed Suit We Would’ve Been Screwed

14:29 Really, if we had not filed suit with this whole situation then …[Joe] Well, we would’ve been screwed. By the company. [Sue] And you would’ve really taken it hard. You’d still be in a lot of pain. [Joe] Yeah, I wouldn’t have been fixed, I wouldn’t have been able to have surgeries or anything like that.

You Think the Company is Really For You

14:47 Yeah. Because the surgeries did help, that was what they’re there for, and to get him better. They didn’t help all the way, but had we not gone through with this, no. There would’ve been no way, no. They would’ve just … You know, it’s funny ’cause you go to work for a company and you think that whenever they give you a safety bonus, or whatever they give you, a turkey at Thanksgiving, or whatever it is, that they’re really for you, you know? That they’re really family-oriented, and that they’re really good for you. But what in actuality, it’s the bottom dollar with them. And the faster they get rid of someone who’s going to take their bottom dollar … Yeah, they would’ve got you big time. They really would have.

It’s Just So Overwhelming

15:39 Oh, dealing with your office was awesome, all the girls, I mean everybody from Lea’, to Rachel, even Kathy, you, Jason, everybody, Kim, Kim was always very sweet. The most pleasant voice, never any anxiety, or anything like that, just very sweet, and very, very calm. ‘Cause he could not do this, this whole paperwork thing, not that he couldn’t have done it, it’s just that it’s so much for him to not only live with all that he’s having to recover from with all these surgeries, but for him to turn around returning phone calls, and to get things copied and sent to you guys, or even open emails is just a little bit … It’s just so overwhelming, ’cause there’s so much to this.

16:26 There was so much to it from the very, very beginning whenever he was trying to figure out what all was wrong, and how he was going to be fixed. But it was just nice to call your office and have the questions answered, and to speak with someone who could tell you this, this, and this. You asked a question, they answered it. There was not gray area, it was great. It really was. I like everybody.

Meeting Another Injured Worker at Rehab

16:55 [Joe]: There was a guy who worked on a platform and oil rigs and he was in there getting rehabbed, and he had said that he was nervous about going back to work, and I asked him why. And he said that he was probably gonna get fired the day that he returned. And someone else had gotten injured with him in the same accident. And I said, “Well what about that guy?” And he said he hired Tim Young and …[Sue] He said he wished that he had. [Joe] Yeah, that he wished he had, because he knew he was gonna get fired the minute that he was rehabilitated and able to go back to work.

Life After the Settlement

17:34 [Sue]: I think things are going really well. We had had long-term plans a long time ago to … We love to do rehab and reconstruct, and fix houses, and things of that nature. And in the area that we live in, we’re in a very tourist-y area between two giant lakes that bring in a lot of revenue through the summer months, and spring and fall for that matter too with hunting. But with the settlement and everything that was received …[Joe] We’re gonna do all right.

18:12 [Sue]: Yeah, we’re gonna do okay. We’re definitely gonna do okay. Yep. And we have two daughters that are in college right now, and a grand-daughter who at some point will actually be headed that way too, that we’re going to help take care of. Yeah, it’s gonna be really good.

18:33 I really like this place. This is really just a great office. Never once felt uncomfortable, never. [Joe] No, not at all. [Sue] Never felt like we were lesser of anything. You guys truly treated us like we were one of you, and better than family. It was really, it was nice. The whole experience was great, it really, really was.


No one should have to face a maritime injury alone. The process of just dealing with an injury, going to doctors’ appointments, and trying to figure out what to do when you can’t go back to work is overwhelming and frightening. There are other options. Give us a call to talk about your situation and see if there’s anything we can do to help get your life back on track.

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