Maritime Attorney Kurt Arnold Appears on CNN To Discuss Oil Rig Disaster

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Arnold, with the Houston law firm of Arnold & Itkin, tells Anderson Cooper that Transocean Ltd. asked explosion survivors to sign pre-written statements that stated they had not been injured.

Houston Maritime Lawyer Kurt Arnold

They get to shore, 40 to 48 hours after the accident, and before they can go home, and before they can even go see the doctor, they’re asked to sign a prepared statement by an insurance adjuster saying that they’re not injured

Houston maritime lawyer Kurt Arnold continues to speak out in the national media about the efforts of Transocean Ltd. to limit injury claims from workers who survived the Deep Water Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Arnold, a founding partner of Arnold & Itkin LLP, was the featured expert on CNN’s May 7 edition of “Anderson Cooper 360” in a segment about the treatment of oil rig workers in the disaster’s aftermath.

Arnold, who is handling claims related to the disaster, told Cooper that Transocean Ltd.’s “litigation machine” went into action immediately after the explosion to sequester workers who were on the doomed oil rig when it exploded.

The company presented workers with pre-written statements to sign, Arnold said. The statements read, in part: "I was not a witness to the incident requiring the evacuation and have no first-hand or personal knowledge regarding the incident" and "I was not injured as a result of the incident or evacuation."

Workers say they were pressured to sign the letters, according to the CNN report, and the statements are now being used against them as they seek help with physical or psychological problems caused by the disaster.

Eleven crew members were killed and at least 17 workers suffered injuries when the Deepwater Horizon burned, exploded and collapsed in 5,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico on the evening of April 20. The massive rig eventually sank to the ocean bottom and the unfinished well began spewing 200,000 gallons of oil a day into Gulf waters.

Arnold said his clients told him they were required to sign statements before they could see doctors provided by the drilling company.

“So, they get to shore, 40 to 48 hours after the accident, and before they can go home, and before they can even go see the doctor, they’re asked to sign a prepared statement by an insurance adjuster saying that they’re not injured,” he told Cooper.

The workers had been through a traumatic experience and had not slept in 60 hours, according to Arnold. “They were just doing it (signing the statement) because they were told to do it,” he said. “I mean, if you ask a lot of questions out there, you lose your job.”

Arnold, who concentrates in maritime injury cases, has been contacted repeatedly by local and national media for his expertise since the disaster. He has shared his insights previously about Transocean and oil rig fires for reports by National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” the Houston Chronicle and Houston’s ABC television affiliate, among others.

The Emmy award-winning “Anderson Cooper 360” airs weeknights from 10 p.m. to midnight on CNN nationally. The first hour is aired around the world on CNN International.

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements. The firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits off shore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

The firm handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or through its website.

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