Accidents happen, especially working on the water. Maritime law is very different than the laws of the land, and it can be confusing to know your rights.
So, what are your rights if you get injured in an offshore accident?
You Are Not Required to See a Company Doctor
First of all, you are not required to see a company doctor, but you should never refuse medical treatment as this can be used against you later in the case. However, you are entitled to see the doctor of your choosing regardless of whether you have already seen a doctor that your company sent you to. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your treating physician is a doctor not affiliated with your company.
Your company likely has a prior relationship to the doctor it sends you to. That means that there is a possibility that this particular doctor will put the company’s interests before yours and potentially be overly optimistic about what treatment you need to return to work. You might not get a full, comprehensive examination from a company doctor, as many companies only pay for specific treatments and tests. If you were in a severe accident, it is especially crucial you see a doctor that YOU choose. If you fail to get an important test immediately after an accident – like an MRI – a serious injury could go untreated and lead to serious health complications.
Regardless, every situation is unique. If you have been injured offshore or on the water, you should contact the maritime lawyers at The Lambert Firm immediately to make sure you know your options regarding medical treatment.
Your Company Must Pay Maintenance and Cure
Additionally, Jones Act seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to your day-to-day living expenses, and cure refers to your medical expenses. Your company must legally pay for maintenance and cure until you are healthy enough to work again, or your physician deems you at “maximum cure.”
The maintenance and cure system is yet another reason you should see a doctor outside of your company. Your company’s doctor could be pressured to deem “maximum cure” before you are truly fit to work.
Don’t Hesitate to Get Legal Advice
If you are ever confused or questioning your company’s processes after an injury, the maritime attorneys at The Lambert Firm are here to explain your rights and help you protect them.
With more than 40 years of experience in maritime law, national award-winning attorneys, and a proven track record of success, your interests will be represented and protected under the full extent of the law. Best of all, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay for our services unless and until you win your recovery. You have nothing to lose – only much to gain.