Offshore Driller Valaris Declares Bankruptcy Leading to Massive Layoffs
U.S. crude oil futures have been trading in negative territory due to excess supply and collapse in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Valaris, formed in 2019 through a merger of Ensco and Rowan Companies, is reportedly working with debt restructuring agencies as it grapples with a $6.5 billion debt burden and plummeting U.S. crude prices.
Offshore oil driller Valaris PLC has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Texas. Houston Biz Journal is reporting the layoffs of 1,900 employees ahead of bankruptcy. So what does this mean for their workforce?
Were You Laid-off After Being Injured?
If you were injured on the job while working for Valaris, you might be thinking that you’re entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. However, if your job involves working on a vessel at sea, you’re not covered under regular worker’s compensation insurance. Instead, you are covered by a federal admiralty law known as the “Jones Act” and this holds true even if you’ve recently been laid off.
If your injury happened within the last three years, you might be entitled to substantial compensation.
If you believe you have a Jones Act Claim:
Identify if an accurate incident report was filed with Valaris. If Valaris did not let you fill out an incident report or made you sign a blank one, draft your own independent statement. Include the names and job titles of everyone who witnessed you get injured, was on board when you got injured, and interacted with you after you got injured.
Do not sign any paperwork, give a statement, or agree to anything. Many offshore companies will ask you to sign a form to access your benefits, see a doctor, or go to shore. The only thing you should have signed is an accurate incident report. Anything else is suspicious. Remember, you do not have to sign anything or give any statements to go to shore or receive medical care.
Consult an experienced Jones Act and maritime law attorney. When you discuss your case with one of our attorneys, we will help you understand if your company is treating you fairly or if it’s time to get help. Click here for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Your Rights To Maintenance and Cure
As “Jones Act” seamen, injured sailors are entitled to benefits known as “maintenance and cure.” These are benefits maritime workers are to receive after getting sick or injured. Maintenance refers to income supplements or payments that help you pay your regular living expenses. Cure describes the legitimate medical costs related to your accident or illness. This can include emergency care after the accident, follow up surgery, or physical therapy.
While it makes sense for an employer to help pay your medical bills after an injury the company is responsible for, you should be aware that there is sometimes more to your costs than just doctor and hospital visits. On-the-job injuries can easily complicate life’s finances. While you’re injured, life continues, and debt begins to pile up while you’re not working.
Part of maintenance and cure is that, for maintenance, your company is supposed to pay you a daily, living wage. What the company calls a living wage and what the average person calls a living wage can be very different. If your company is not paying you any maintenance or trying to get away with paying you $27 a day, consult a lawyer immediately.
An experienced Jones Act lawyer will fight the company to get your maintenance increased to a reasonable amount.
If Your Rights Are Being Denied, Our Jones Act Attorneys Can Help
VB Attorneys has decades of experience helping injured mariners with their offshore injury lawsuits, and we can help you too. All too often, we see hardworking men and women who have been injured offshore get taken advantage of by maritime corporations who prioritize profits over the safety and welfare of their employees.
Whether you were injured working for Ensco, Rowan Companies, or Valaris, the results are likely to be the same: false promises of relief from the company. Meanwhile, you and your family are left to worry about the insurmountable debt that continuously piles up while you’re out of work.
VB Attorneys is considered one of the best Jones Act and maritime law firms in the country. We understand that you may have additional questions regarding your Jones Act case. Let us walk you through the entire legal process, answer every question, and help you decide what’s best for you and your family’s future. Give us a call at 713-224-7800 or fill out our contact form to receive your free and confidential consultation.