Injured offshore workers shouldn’t trust Shuman Consulting

shuman consulting, jones act claims, claims adjuster

Shuman Consulting says on its website that it provides third party administration, risk management, loss adjusting, medical invoice review, and pre-employment services.

If you’ve been injured working in the offshore industry, particularly the offshore oil and gas industry, then there is a very good chance you will run into Shuman Consulting representatives.

You should be extremely careful in all your dealings with Shuman Consulting.

Here are 7 reasons you should be careful when you interact with Shuman Consulting:

  1. Shuman Consulting is paid by insurance companies and/or the offshore employers.  Because Shuman makes its money from these companies, it necessarily tries to protect the companies;
  2. Shuman Consulting has years of experience protecting these companies and employes against injury claims.  If you’ve been hurt working offshore, then this is likely your first experience in such a situation.  Thus, you are at an informational disadvantage.
  3. Shuman can immediately begin an investigation, take statements, and do all the work it needs to do.  An injured worker, by contrast, will likely be more worried about getting prompt and proper medical care, will be concerned about getting wages, and will be thinking about his or her job.  While the injured employee is working on financial survival, Shuman’s representatives have likely already sprung into action, so they have a head start on you.
  4. Shuman has resources you don’t have.  Shuman has the expertise, the people, and the money to do a full-blown accident investigation, and since Shuman will have a head start, it will be able to investigate the situation in a way the tends to favor the employer.
  5. People who work offshore are generally afraid of losing their jobs if they say things against the employer.  Shuman’s representatives understand this pressure, and can use it to make the accident seem like your fault.
  6. Shuman is well-trained in making it seem like they are just trying to help you get your benefits and your medical treatment.  While Shuman’s work may contribute to your benefits and medical treatment, keep in mind that “behind the scenes” Shuman is also doing what it can to protect it customer, not you.
  7. Shuman has access to company lawyers.  That’s important, because it means that in addition to performing the loss adjusting services for its employers and investigating the case in a way that would be favorable to its customer, Shuman can also access company lawyers during the investigation process, which gives the company another layer of protection against potential lawsuits or legal claims for an injury.

Are you being contacted by Shuman Consulting representatives?  Here’s what you should do:

If you are being contacted by representatives of Shuman Consulting after an on-the-job injury, then there are a couple of steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • First, you should realize that you are under no obligation to sign any papers or give any statements.  If Shuman implies that you won’t receive your wages or medical treatment, then you must understand that this is simply not true under the law.
  • Second, you should consider contacting an experienced lawyer who can help guide you through the process.  If Shuman Consulting is involved, then you can be almost certain that your employer has its lawyers involved as well and is taking steps now to protect itself.  You should get independent legal advice from a quality lawyer to protect yourself.
  • Third, and finally, you should know that your future is at stake.  While you may believe you can trust your employer, once Shuman is involved you should know that your employer is looking after its own financial and legal interests.  Since your health, finances, and job security is at stake, you should do whatever is necessary to protect yourself now.  You shouldn’t wait to see if your employer will “take care of you,” whether you can “trust your employer,” etc. because by hiring the specialists at Shuman Consulting your employer has basically said it doesn’t have your best interests in mind, your employer has its own best interests in mind.

Watch Brian explain further about what to do if you are picked up at the dock by the claims adjuster:

Five holiday safety tips for preventing parking lot accidents

Whether you enjoy holiday shopping or just see it as a necessary task, it’s important to be vigilant while you are marking those items off your list. Statistics released by the National Safety Council show that 50,000 people suffer injuries in parking lot car accidents each year. The overall number of accidents greatly increases during the holiday season. Many of these accidents can be avoided by simply slowing down and following good safety measures.

  1. Look out for dangerous sidewalks and parking lots

While it is not a huge concern here in Houston, in many areas of the country holiday shoppers not only have to battle the crowds, but the icy weather as well. Be aware of the weather conditions and don’t risk your safety or someone else’s if conditions are not safe. Be aware of parking lots that are usually poorly lit or tend to be more dangerous when wet or icy. This is good advice to remember as a driver and a pedestrian. 

  1. Put your phone down

Most of us feel like our cell phones are an extension of ourselves. They allow us to easily stay connected but they can also be a distraction as well. This can be especially true when walking through busy parking lots from one store to the next. Keeping your eyes glued to your cell phone when walking can cause you to miss icy or wet spots in the parking lot or even walk into the path of a moving vehicle. Make sure you are in a safe, stationary spot before using your cell phone and are completely parked before checking that text. 

  1. Practice patience

Getting the closest parking spots might seem like an effective holiday shopping tip but when it comes to safety, be patient. Bolting through the parking lot to grab that prime spot might be your first thought. But resist the urge. It is simply not safe and with many more pedestrians and vehicles out during the holidays, you run the risk of seriously injuring someone. When walking through the parking lot, be sure to look both ways and be aware of your surroundings.

  1. Look out for pedestrians

As we all know, the holiday season can be hectic. Swarms of people are out trying to find that perfect gift, many with children and shopping bags atow. You should always be cautious in parking lots and streets with heavy pedestrian traffic but, especially during the holiday season. People in a hurry will often take shortcuts between cars and may seem to come out of nowhere. Be vigilant and look out for one another.

  1. Reduce your speed

We all understand being in a hurry during the holiday season. However, being in a rush increases the likelihood of parking lot accidents. You may think slowing down will add more time to your trip but in actuality it just may prevent someone from getting injured or killed. Remember that holiday shoppers might not be paying as much attention as you are. Take the safe route and slow down.

Contact an experienced car accident attorney if you are injured

We truly hope your holiday season is a safe one. But if you are injured in an accident we are here to help. Contact us at (877) 724-7800 or fill out our free, confidential case evaluation form.

Third grader killed and at least 45 injured in tragic charter bus accident

bus accident, charter bus, bus, bus crash, bus wreck

Early on Monday, a bus accident took the life of a third grader and injured at least 45 others when the bus they were traveling in flipped over several times and crashed. The teams were returning home from an all-star tournament in Dallas, Texas when the charter bus owned by Scott Shuttle Service of Tennessee left the roadway and overturned on Interstate 30, west of Benton, Arkansas.

The school district identified the boy who lost his life as Kameron Johnson who was a third-grader at Aspire Coleman Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. The school issued the following message on Twitter “There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child, and our hearts are broken for the families impacted by the bus accident this morning.”

The driver of the bus says she lost control, causing the bus to roll off the interstate and roll down the embankment. Injuries ranged from skull and arm fractures to liver and spleen lacerations. A few passengers underwent emergency operations.

The bus company has a history of safety violations

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,  Scott Shuttle Service’s federal safety records show they received several safety violations and fines in recent years. In fact, only one of the company’s seven drivers were inspected in the last two years.

It is still unclear why the driver lost control of the bus. Investigators say the weather was clear and road conditions were dry at the time of the crash.

Bus accidents occur all too often in Texas

Many injuries and deaths occur in Texas due to bus accidents.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  around 300 fatal bus accidents occur yearly. Even in crashes with no fatalities, bus accidents usually result in serious injuries and large amounts of property damage.

In 2017, a young woman catastrophically injured when a Greyhound bus rear-ended an 18-wheeler, hired VB Attorneys to handle her case. Attorney Vuk Vujasinovic personally traveled to Pennsylvania to help investigate the crash. Read more about this case.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus accident, you should know that time is ticking. The bus company and their representatives will immediately take action to keep from being held responsible. You need an experienced, bus accident attorney on your side. Feel free to reach out to us by phone at (877) 724-7800 or by filling out a free, confidential case evaluation.

A 52-year-old home healthcare worker hires VB Attorneys after being injured in a hit and run accident

An injured 52-year-old home healthcare worker from Port Arthur, Texas hired VB Attorneys after she was hurt in a hit and run accident. On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, our client was traveling on 25th Street in Port Arthur, Texas and was preparing to take a left turn when an impatient driver attempted to pass from the left, striking her vehicle in the process.

The responsible driver hit the front left side of our client’s vehicle and then drove off without stopping to make sure our client was okay. Luckily, a witness followed his vehicle and noted the license plate number so that he could be held responsible.

Because of the crash, our client has dealt with pain in her arms, back pain, and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). She has been undergoing medical treatment for her injuries. Her 14 year old daughter was also in the vehicle at the time.

This case is currently still being investigated but we will provide updates as it progresses.

Contact us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.

If you have been in a similar type of car crash, find out how we can help you! Call us at (877) 724-7800 or fill out our free, confidential contact form.

 

A 51-year-old Woodlands resident hires VB Attorneys after being severely injured in car crash

An injured, 51-year-old woman from The Woodlands, Texas has retained our law firm after being severely injured in a car crash. On September 23, 2016, our client was traveling North on Grogans Mill Road, approaching South Millbend Drive in The Woodlands when another vehicle ran a stop light and crashed into her.

The at-fault party’s vehicle hit our client on her right front side causing considerable damage. The vehicles collided in the middle of an intersection, placing both vehicles in the path of oncoming traffic.

Because of the accident, our client underwent surgery to replace two discs and is scheduled for additional surgeries in the future. She is attending physical therapy for her injuries and has daily headaches that affect sleep and movement.

We are currently still investigating this case but will provide updates as it progresses.

Contact us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.

If you have been in a similar type of car crash, find out how we can help you! Call us at (877) 724-7800 or fill out our free, confidential contact form.

 

Judge signs judgment on wrongful death case against B&G Crane Service LLC.

On November 20, 2018, a Jefferson County, Texas trial judge signed a judgment upholding a $44,370,000.00 verdict awarded in a wrongful death case in which a rigger lost his life. The verdict was handed down on September 13, 2018 after a jury determined that the crane company should be held accountable for their decisions.

The Court’s upholding the verdict against B&G Crane Service LLC. results in a judgment approaching $18.5 million, accounting for pre and post judgment interest and costs and increases by a significant amount each day.

We tried this case over a period of two weeks. During the trial, the jury learned about the safety plan B&G Crane submitted when hired to do rigging work for Exxon and their subsequent failure to adhere to their own safety rules. This failure to train their crane operator on how to safely conduct lifts led to the death of a father of three.

After deliberating over the course of three days, the jury concluded that B&G Crane was 45% negligent in causing the rigger’s death, ExxonMobil was 45% negligent, and AltairStrickland was 10% negligent. The rigger’s brothers who witnessed his death both brought a bystander claim. Another injured rigger also brought a claim.

VB Attorneys’ lawyers Vuk Vujasinovic and Byron Alfred asked the jury to award the family at least $32 million in compensation and to help make the community and future employees safer. Their hope is that by holding them responsible, they will deter companies like B&G Crane from making profits more important than the safety of those they employ.

Because of Vuk and Byron’s legal victory in this case, Texas Lawyer named Vuk “Litigator of the Week”.

Read more about how Byron and Vuk won this case and received justice for the Barron family.

 

How preexisting and intervening injuries affect your work injury claim

preexisting conditions affect work injury claim

If you have a preexisting injury or have been hurt again since your injury at work, it’s important to be prepared to carefully protect your rights as you pursue compensation for what happened. Your employer cannot deny your worker’s compensation benefits for either of these conditions, but many companies will take advantage of workers who aren’t aware of their rights. No matter where you work, here are some things you should know about preexisting injuries and intervening injuries.

A preexisting injury is an injury that happened before you started your job. For example, if you broke your shoulder years ago playing football, that could be a preexisting injury.

Many companies will refuse to take responsibility for injuries that happen on the job if they can—and if they discover you had an injury before the accident, they may use it as an excuse to deny compensation. However, a preexisting condition does not disqualify you from getting worker’s compensation or suing an employer for negligence in causing a new injury.

The reality on pre-existing conditions is this: state laws dictate what types of pre-existing conditions will be allowed in a personal injury case. There are rules that must be followed. If the prior condition has nothing to do with your current condition or injuries, then a judge won’t allow it in the case. On the other hand, if you had a prior condition to the same body part or had a similar injury in the past, then most likely that condition will be allowed in the case.

Generally, if it can be proven that your employer was responsible for an injury that caused medical issues that would not have otherwise been aggravated, you can still recover damages. In some cases, it may even be proven that the underlying condition and new injury are unrelated, and that you should receive full compensation despite the pre-existing condition. However, because so many workers are unaware of their rights and the tricks of the insurance trade, it is very important that you speak with an attorney of your choosing about the details of your case, your rights, and how to be successful with your claim. You should discuss matters related to past injuries and pre-existing conditions the first time you meet your attorney.

An intervening injury happens when a worker is already hurt from a workplace injury and then another work injury aggravates the previous injury. One common cause of intervening injuries is returning to work too soon after an injury. Some employers pressure workers who are not fully healed to return to work, but doing so could seriously impact the worker’s recovery. The consequences could even be permanent. An intervening injury may also be caused by injury treatment, such as physical therapy or repeated surgeries, or a second accident.

Although you may have expected that your employer would be on your side if you were ever hurt on the clock, the reality is that a lot of workers have to fight for the help they deserve. Whether your job made your preexisting condition worse or injured you outright, you deserve fair compensation for your suffering.

A work injury can follow you far into the future – are you prepared?

You can’t really prepare for an unexpected work injury, and it’s not unusual for families to be thrown into a world of physical, emotional, and financial chaos after finding out that a loved one has been seriously hurt. Because these kinds of injuries can change lives forever, injured workers and their families find themselves suddenly needing to prepare for long-term difficulties.

Some of the long-term hardships after a work-related injury include:

  • Changes in income and expenses:  Facing the reality that you cannot return to the same type of work or a high-paying position is difficult, especially if you are still receiving medical care. Short-term injuries are already expensive, but serious, long-term injuries can quickly drain any family’s emergency funds.
  • Changes in your ability to work:  Sometimes, injured workers are unable to return to work at all or will need training and education to move on to a position suited to their post-injury needs.
  • Changes in your ability to engage in daily activities:  Beyond losing the ability to work or provide for their families in the same way, seriously injured workers also must adjust to changes in how they engage in their personal lives, interact with their families, or pursue hobbies and personal goals.
  • The emotional and psychological impact of change:  Physical and financial changes are often the most obvious and pressing, but the “invisible” emotional injuries after a serious accident often go ignored. The trauma of the accident, the stress of the aftermath, and the many long-term adjustments injured workers face can take a serious psychological toll, resulting in depression, anxiety, and other difficulties.

Families must cope by rapidly getting educated about their rights and taking it one step at a time. Medical attention should be a priority, both initially and in follow up, and injured workers should follow their doctors’ orders carefully in order to recover as fully as possible. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, reach out to your doctor or a counselor. And, to make sure you receive the past, present, and future compensation needed for your injury, get help from an experienced work injury attorney in handling your injury claim. Contact us today at 877.724.7800 or fill out our free, confidential case evaluation form.

Why injured workers should never give a recorded statement​

Despite what the insurance adjuster may tell you, you are not legally required to give a recorded statement for your injury claim to be processed. Giving a recorded statement will not further your case. Instead, it could do a lot to wreck your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you to give a recorded statement before they will allow you to receive medical treatment or compensation, call an experienced attorney right away. It’s simply not worth the risk of wrecking of your work injury claim.

The insurance company may tell you that a recorded statement is needed to hurry your case along or that it is simply part of the settlement process. In reality, employers and insurance companies often use these recorded statements to twist victims’ words and attempt to minimize their injuries or deny their potential claims. If you make the mistake of agreeing to a statement, you should know that they will generally ask difficult questions, misleading questions, or questions you don’t understand. While you are being recorded, you might be asked – or even pressured – to immediately accept a settlement for the costs of your injury.

You may feel like you have nothing to hide, and you may wonder what the harm could really be. Unfortunately, insurance companies often take advantage of injured workers who do not understand their rights, and the pressure can be intense. We certainly sympathize. In a perfect world, settling a work injury claim should be as simple as telling the truth about what happened to you. However, you should realize that your employer and its insurance company probably do not have your best interests in mind when asking for a recorded statement – and it’s extremely likely that they will try to use your words against you later on to protect their own interests.

When you have been hurt at work, one of the first things you find out about pursuing a successful work injury claim is that you have to document everything: doctor’s visits, your progress, missed work, medical bills, lost wages, communication regarding the injury—the list goes on and on. With that in mind, it probably doesn’t seem all that surprising that your employer wants you to give an official statement.

However, although documentation and evidence are key to the success of your case, don’t be tempted to give a recorded statement, especially without the guidance of an experienced attorney on your side. Giving a recorded statement to your employer or its insurance company is more than just simple documentation, and you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself as you figure out the details.

We understand that you want to do everything in your power to move your injury claim along as quickly as possible. However, don’t put your right to compensation at risk. If you are being asked or pressured to give a recorded statement after you have been hurt, speak with an experienced attorney before you make a decision—and make sure you are fully prepared to protect your rights.

Recorded Statements Aren’t the Only Concern After a Work Injury

Even if you are able to avoid giving a recorded statement, there are other ways to fall into the trap of saying or doing something that negatively impacts your work injury claim, including:

  • On the phone with the insurance company. Even in an unrecorded statement to the insurance company, you could accidentally say or do something that affects your rights or jeopardizes your claim.
  • In writing. You may receive a number of documents in the mail, and you may be asked to fill out the answers to written questions from the insurance company. This comes with many of the same risks as a spoken statement. To be safe, do not submit any statements in writing, including signing any documents, without first reviewing the document with your attorney.
  • On social media outlets. It may come as a surprise to many, but insurance companies are not above using your Facebook or Twitter posts as evidence to undermine your claim. Even seemingly unrelated posts could be used against you, so be very careful what you say online when you are pursuing a work injury claim.

An experienced attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and help you avoid making many of the common mistakes that wreck work injury claims. If you are being pressured to give a recorded statement after a work injury, or if you have questions about your rights, VB Attorneys can help you get answers. Give us a call at 877.724.7800 or fill out our free, confidential case evaluation form.

Types of intimidation tactics often used against injured workers​

intimidation against injured workers

What do we mean by harassment and intimidation tactics? It can be hard to sort fact from fiction in the whirlwind of documents and meetings that follow an accident, illness, or injury. Although there are many ways—both subtle and not so subtle—an employer might try to keep you from pursuing a work injury claim, the following are some of the most common:

  • Pressuring you not to seek medical care or prescription treatment. Your employer may try to talk you out of seeing a doctor or recommend that you try over-the-counter remedies instead. They may tell you that you have to see a company doctor and can’t follow up with a doctor of your own. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the medical care you need, see your own doctor as soon as possible, and then talk to an attorney about what your rights really are.
  • Pressuring you not to file a claim or report an injury. If you don’t fill out an injury report immediately, or if you wait too long to file a claim, it may be impossible for you to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, that doesn’t stop employers or supervisors from trying to talk you out of reporting that you got hurt or telling the truth about how it happened.
  • Threatening you with disciplinary action. Your employer may try to take action against you after you have been injured, sometimes blaming you for causing the accident, claiming you have a history of accidents, or otherwise threatening formal discipline. They may go through your employment records to drag out anything in the past they can twist around and use against you now.
  • Threatening you with the loss of your job. Some people who have been hurt at work are even threatened with losing their jobs because of the injury or accident. They’re told they’ll be fired if they report the injury, or they may be pressured to return to work too soon in order to remain employed.
  • Intimidating you with embarrassment and social pressure. Some employers are not above using your coworkers against you, posting publicly about your injury, and using other underhanded tricks to minimize your claim or make it out like you’re the bad guy just for getting hurt.
  • Pressuring you to settle for less. You may be pressured to accept the settlement the company wants to give you, often long before they’ve recovered or know the full extent of your injuries. The insurance company or your employer may harass you over the phone, give you misleading information, or use other tactics to make you feel like you don’t have other options and must accept their offer, even if it isn’t enough to help you recover.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone—it happens to a lot of people—and you should know that you do have options. You don’t have to put up with these kinds of intimidation tactics because you were hurt at work. Many employees are mistreated by their employers after they are hurt or become ill, no matter what kind of industry they work in. If you’re being threatened or mistreated by your employer just because you got hurt, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you “just have to take it” in order to keep your job.

Why you need our successful legal team on your side after being hurt at work​

When you’ve been hurt at work, you need to focus on getting better and getting your life back on track. You don’t have the experience or the financial ability to fully investigate your work accident or maximize your compensation. That’s where our team comes in. We can thoroughly dig into the details of your case and discover evidence that may be impossible to find on your own. As soon as you hire us for your case, we get to work. If necessary, we will file a Temporary Restraining Order with the court to make sure the company doesn’t destroy, damage, hide, or tamper with any of the evidence in your case. We investigate to find out if the company violated any safety regulations, hire experts to reconstruct the incident, and make sure the company is held accountable for their safety failures.

While we can’t speak for every attorney, we can talk about how we work with our own clients. We aim to provide full-service solutions for injured workers, and we are willing to investigate even the smallest details that might help give you a stronger case. For example, while looking into your case, our motivated legal team will often:

  • Come to the location of your work accident to investigate potential causes and contributing factors. Even straightforward work injury claims can benefit from the kind of hard evidence that comes from having a legal ally investigating and researching what caused your accident and why it happened. When needed, our legal team will arrive on site to support our clients and gather information.
  • Call in expert witnesses to evaluate and confirm key evidence. One major benefit of working with an attorney is the access you gain to resources like expert witnesses, accident reconstruction, and other professional services, which can provide key evidence supporting your injury claim.
  • Test equipment and safety features for evidence of malfunction. Was faulty or poorly maintained equipment to blame for your accident at work? Our legal team investigates the equipment involved in your accident and if there were safety failures at your place of employment.
  • Determine and explain exactly what your options are for pursuing compensation. The laws that cover injured workers in Texas can be very complicated, depending on the specific details of your case. An experienced attorney, however, can quickly identify the routes available to you for pursuing compensation and cover bases you may not have considered, such as third-party claims.

Filing a work injury claim may seem straightforward, but companies will do whatever they can to avoid compensating injured employees. The sooner you get an experienced work injury legal team on your side, the sooner your legal rights are protected and the sooner you can focus on getting better knowing we’re working to get you the best result possible on your case.

Time is not on your side, contact us today at 877.724.7800 or fill out a free, confidential case evaluation form.

What to do if the police report isn’t accurate after a car accident

inaccurate police report after car accident

The police report is sometimes the most important document that comes up in cases involving accident injuries, and it’s a legitimate concern if you think the report may be inaccurate. Two of the most concerning mistakes include situations where:

  • The police report faults you incorrectly. You have a good reason to be concerned about this, but your lawyer should be able to hire an expert in “accident reconstruction” who can show how the wreck was not your fault.
  • The police report says you were “not injured.”  Of course it seems scary, but this is not something that typically destroys a car accident case. Many officers simply check “not injured” if the person does not request an ambulance. Most officers will acknowledge during questioning that they are not medical experts, and they will defer to what the doctors have to say. So, as long as your doctors support your injury case (if they don’t, you don’t have a case!), do not be too concerned about the officer’s injury finding.

The bottom line is that it does matter what the police report says, but the report is definitely not the last word on all important case issues. An accident case is not based exclusively on what is contained in a police report, as there is so much more information out there that is important. However, there are some things you can do to make sure the document is accurate—or build supporting evidence of what really happened:

  • Request a copy of the police report. You can usually get a copy of the document by contacting the police station online or by phone and paying a small fee. Once you have it, look over all the details very carefully and think about what information might be missing or misleading.
  • Talk to an attorney who has experience winning accident cases for victims. If you notice discrepancies or statements that you’re worried about in the report, you can save a lot of time and headaches by contacting an experienced attorney directly. By talking over your concerns with an attorney, you can find out if the inaccuracies might be a problem and exactly what you can do to make sure it doesn’t wreck your injury case for compensation.
If you have been involved in a car accident and discovered the police report to be inaccurate, you need any experienced attorney on your side to help you through your injury claim. Our attorneys provide free, confidential case evaluations to help you make sure you are on the right path. Give us a call at 877.724.7800 or fill out our contact form today!