Attorney Portrait Insurance

8 Things to Do If You Are Injured While Working Offshore

| Read Time: 4 minutes

The offshore industry is a big factor in the Gulf South economy. Often lost in the shuffle are the workers who make this industry run. Let’s face it, offshore work is not only demanding, it is dangerous. The Johns Firm, LLC assists and represents offshore workers who have been injured in Texas, Louisiana, and throughout the Gulf South. While it is natural to feel a sense of dedication and loyalty to your employer. However, you need to understand that your injury claim will not be handled by the employer you know. It will be handled by an insurance company’s claims department and a team of experienced defense attorneys whose goal is to limit or deny your compensation. If you are injured on the job offshore, you need to take steps to protect your rights so your injury claim can be handled fairly. Here is a list of 8 things to do if you are injured offshore. Report You Injury to Your Accident and Employer Immediately Let’s face it, many of us don’t like to admit that we have been injured. We like to delay the inevitable, thinking that maybe the pain will go away. But when you wait to report your injury to your employer it only hurts your claim preventing you from recovering the medical benefits and financial compensation you deserve. One trick employers like to play is claiming that your injury is not work-related. Evidence that you did not immediately report an accident or injury only helps the employer avoid responsibility for your injury. For the best results, you should report your accident and injury immediately to your employer. Tell the Truth When you report an accident or injury to your employer, be careful to tell the complete truth. If you don’t know the details of what exactly happened, do not guess. Many honest people’s claims have gone nowhere because they decided to guess what happened instead of simply telling their employer what they know. You should always use extreme caution to be as factually accurate as possible. Get A Written Report Signed by Your Employer When you report your accident or injury to your employer, get a written report and be sure that the report is 100% accurate. Sometimes employers will create false reports with the hope that the injured worker will be do preoccupied with their medical condition to notice. If you can, review the report carefully. If the employer is being untruthful in their reporting, let them know in writing and consult an attorney. If your employer is attempting to stack the deck against you early on, you need to act with extreme caution. Do Not Go Back to Work if you are Injured Many employees make the mistake of returning to work the remainder of their hitch in the hope that the pain will go away. Don’t make this mistake. I once worked on a case where the employee returned to work despite severe back pain after slipping down a flight of stairs offshore. He worked the rest of his hitch, went home, and tried ice treatment and over-the-counter pain medication to treat his symptoms. When it was time to start his next hitch, he was unable to work, and he reported the accident and injury to the employer. The employer forced the employed to file a claim and proceed to trial more than one year later to get the benefits he deserved. The moral of this story is to report your injuries immediately and seek immediate medical assistance if the pain makes it difficult to work. If you cannot return to work, you should request to be taken back to shore. Provide Your Employer with a Written Statement In addition to getting a written report of injury, it is helpful if an injured worker provides a written statement about what happened. A written statement is different from a report. While the employer typically will prepare its initial incident report, the employee can provide a written statement to make sure that the full story of what happened is accurately reported. Again, if you provide a written statement, be sure that every fact is accurate. Exaggerating or embellishing what happened will only hurt your case in the long-run. You Should Select an Independent Physician for Medical Treatment Many employers will send an employee to their preferred physician after an accident or injury. Do not fall for this trap. We have seen employer preferred physicians misdiagnose numerous serious injuries to create a false narrative that the employee was not injured on the job. The law gives you the right to select your own physician. You do not have to see the employer’s preferred physician immediately after an accident. If you have a serious injury that requires immediate treatment, go to the emergency room. If you have a primary care physician that you use, be sure to visit him or her soon after the accident. Many times a primary care physician can refer you to a specialist who they believe will provide the best treatment possible. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders When you seek medical treatment, it is important that you comply with your doctor’s recommendations. If you do not comply with treatment recommendations, your employer will most certainly use that to claim that you are not being truthful about your injury. Accurately Report Your Symptoms to Your Doctor One of the hardest things for many of us to do is provide an accurate description of our medical issues. When you see your doctor following an accident, be sure to tell them exactly what is wrong. If you have pain and numbness in your back, take the time to describe exactly how the pain is impacting. For example, does not numbness extend into your legs. Is the pain stabbing? Is it constant? Is it more of a dull sensation? Have your legs just gone out on you while walking? It is important to provide your doctor with as much information as possible so they can provide the treatment...

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Attorney Portrait Insurance

A Former Spouse Is Claiming Life Insurance Money: What Do I Do?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It is not uncommon for there to be competing claims for life insurance benefits between a recently widowed spouse and a former spouse. For the people seeking life insurance benefits, these disputes are emotional and different. These disputes typically occur when the deceased spouse neglected to change the beneficiary after a divorce. The rules on this issue are complex and vary from state-to-state. If you find yourself in a beneficiary dispute, you should seek the assistance of an experienced insurance attorney. Isn’t a Divorced Spouse Automatically Removed as A Beneficiary? Not always. Some but not all states have enacted a “revocation-on-divorce” law that states that a divorced spouse must be removed as a life insurance beneficiary. Typical exceptions to these laws are when there is a divorce settlement agreement for the ex-spouse to remain a life insurance beneficiary or the ex-spouse has been re-designated as a beneficiary. In other words, states with “revocation-on-divorce” laws require there be some affirmative act to prove that the insured intended for the ex-spouse to be a life insurance beneficiary. Even if there is no revocation-on-divorce law in your state, a spouse may still be entitled to at least a portion of the insurance proceeds. In community property states, a spouse may be entitled to at least one-half the life insurance benefits from a term life policy. Benefits from whole life insurance policies may be allocated based on the percentage of premiums paid during the marriage. Another consideration is when an insured attempts to change the beneficiary on an insurance policy but for a variety of reasons the beneficiary is never changed. In these situations, it is wise to consult our insurance attorneys who can guide you through your options and inform you of your legal rights. What About ERISA? Many life insurance policies are a fringe benefit provided by an employer. Life insurance policies issued through an employer are governed by a complex federal law called the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which governs most employer-provided benefits to employees. ERISA-governed life insurance policies have specific rules that are entirely different from the state-specific framework of laws and rules that govern non-ERISA insurance policies. Under ERISA, the most recent named beneficiary is the rightful claimant. This means that under ERISA, an ex-spouse who remains the designated beneficiary on a policy will normally receive the life insurance proceeds unless one of a few specific exclusions apply. What Will the Insurance Company Do If There Are Competing Claims? If there are multiple people claiming life insurance benefits, the insurance company will likely file an interpleader or concursus action. In this situation, the insurance company will deposit the insurance proceeds into the court’s registry. It is then up to each claimant to make a claim for the insurance benefits. An interpleader or concursus action is a complex legal proceeding that will require each claimant to assert their claims in court. If the life insurance company has filed an interpleader or concursus action, you need to retain an experienced insurance lawyer to provide legal representation through this process. You should assume the other person(s) claiming life insurance benefits will have legal representation and will be intent on recovering the full amount of life insurance proceeds to your detriment. Failing to make a claim or making a misstep in court, could result in you not recovering the insurance benefits you are entitled to. Getting Legal Help is the First Step If you are involved in a beneficiary dispute, or just want to better understand your rights, contact our team of insurance attorneys. We have assisted hundreds of policyholders and claimants in complex insurance matters.

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