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Medical Rights of Injured Maritime Workers

If you've been seriously injured in a maritime accident, you may be confused about your rights. Perhaps your employer or the company's insurance adjuster is insisting that you sign forms you don't fully understand. You may be asked to give a recorded statement or see a particular doctor. You need an attorney experienced in maritime injuries to help you navigate the tricky waters of your post-accident medical care. We at Arnold & Itkin have extensive experience in these types of cases. In 2009, we recovered more than $15 million in over 20 maritime injury cases.

What Are My Legal Rights?

The most important strategy after you've been injured is to know your rights. Many of these rights center around your medical care. Since your recovery of medical expenses, loss of past and future income, pain and suffering, and other financial restitution is directly tied to the doctor's assessment of your condition, it is vital that you know and protect your medical rights, including the important ones listed below.

  • The right to choose your own doctor. Probably the most important decision is who you choose to be your doctor. You should choose a doctor you feel comfortable with, who you trust to make the best medical decisions for your care. You may come under pressure from your employer or the insurance adjuster to see the doctor of their choice. They may even insist that you must see their doctor and suggest that you will forfeit your medical benefits. This is not true. The law is clear that the choice of doctor is yours alone. Your employer does have the right to require you to see his doctor for evaluation purposes but not for treatment. An experienced attorney can advise you when you are required to see your employer's doctor, and when you must give your employer or his insurance company access to your medical records.
  • The right to refuse to sign any paperwork in exchange for medical benefits or maintenance payments. The insurance adjuster can visit you at your hospital bed, but he can't force you to sign anything. Your medical benefits are dependent on your doctor's assessment of your injuries, not your willingness to sign an insurance document – and there's a good reason to be wary of these documents. Often, they will include a clause agreeing to have your case heard in arbitration, in a setting chosen by your employer.
  • The right to refuse to give a recorded statement. You are required to report your accident immediately and follow company procedures, but you may not have to give a recorded statement. Medical evidence shows that short-term memories are frequently fragmented; you may remember events incompletely or incorrectly. If you have this experience, and you later remember events more accurately, it may be difficult to amend an already-recorded statement. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible to help prepare your statement.
  • The right to medical benefits regardless of fault. Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman has the right to full medical benefits, until he or she makes a complete recovery, no matter who is at fault in the accident.
  • The right to medical treatment if two doctors disagree. If your employer requires you to get a second opinion for evaluation purposes and that doctor recommends different treatment than your own doctor or recommends ceasing treatment altogether, your employer may believe he no longer has the responsibility to pay for your doctor's recommendations. That's not true. The Jones Act requires that when two doctors disagree, all doubts must be resolved in favor of the injured seaman.
  • The right to treatment for a previously existing medical condition that has been aggravated by your accident. To get medical treatment, it's not required that your accident caused your injuries. If you were already injured and your accident made it worse, then you are entitled to medical benefits for that same injury. This applies to bad backs, injured shoulders, or any other previous injury you might have had.

Maritime law is complicated, and it can be difficult to know and exercise your rights in the face of an employer who denies them. The experienced lawyers at Arnold & Itkin, however, can help you build a compelling case that will ensure your medical bills are paid. We have helped many injured maritime workers and crew obtain the compensation to which they are rightfully entitled. We can help you, too.

If you've been injured in a maritime accident, call Arnold & Itkin today! (888) 493-1629

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $29Million The Largest Known Settlement for a Wrongful Death Offshore Kurt Arnold, Jason Itkin, and Cory Itkin successfully secured a record settlement for a single family who tragically lost a loved one. It is the largest known settlement for a death that occurred offshore. While a settlement is not an admittance of responsibility, our firm was pleased that the company was willing to provide fair compensation to the family of their employee without a fight.
  • $14Million Jones Act Settlement Reached Two Days Before Trial Arnold & Itkin represented a seaman after he suffered a head injury on the Hercules 15 inland barge. Hercules employees tack welded a three foot pipe to the derrick and then forgot to remove it before starting drilling operations. The pipe was jarred loose and hit Plaintiff in the head, causing severe injury. We presented his case under the Jones Act against Hercules, who chose to settle just before trial.
  • $11.5Million Settlement Won for Injured Victim of Offshore Accident Arnold & Itkin obtained a settlement of $11.5 million on behalf of an offshore accident victim suffering from both physical and psychological injuries. His settlement will ensure that our client gets all the time, financial support, and stability he needs to fully recover and get back on his feet.
  • $8.9Million Settlement Achieved for Severely Injured Seaman Arnold & Itkin helped secure a settlement on behalf of a seaman who injured his head when working aboard an offshore drilling vessel. Our firm helped to recover $8.9 million on his behalf.
  • $8Million Massive Settlement Reached Before Trial Began Our firm represented an offshore worker (a steward) who seriously injured his back in an accident. The injury prevented him from making a living. While other lawyers told him his case was only worth a few hundred thousand dollars, our attorneys knew better. Due to intense negotiations by the firm, Arnold & Itkin was able to obtain a settlement for $8 million from his employers.
  • $7.2Million Millions Won for Brain-Injured Client in Louisiana Arnold & Itkin recovered more than $7 million in a settlement for a severely injured Louisiana client. Our client suffered brain injury and memory issues while working on an offshore platform. The defendant settled his case during jury selection, and our client now has the money he needs to receive quality medical care for the rest of his life.
  • $7.1Million Concussed Worker Received a Massive Settlement after Accident Arnold & Itkin represented an offshore worker with a concussion and a herniated disk from an accident on the job. These injuries inhibited our client’s ability to make a living, requiring him to pursue a claim. His employers eventually resolved the case by settling for $7.1 million.
  • $6.9Million Settlement Obtained for Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died offshore. Though the defendant attempted to get away with an extremely low offer, our team obtained a settlement that was many times larger.
  • $6.6Million Settlement Obtained for Wife & Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin helped a woman and her family get justice after her husband was killed in an incident offshore. Despite undue pressure from the defendant, our firm made sure our clients were taken care of for the rest of their lives.
  • $6.5Million Settlement Secured for Injured Crew Member on Barge Arnold & Itkin obtained a seven-figure settlement for an offshore worker who was injured off the coast of Florida while working in needlessly dangerous conditions. His settlement will help him move forward after irreparable damage was done to his head and face.
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“I told him, ‘Kurt you’re my hero. You’re my knight in shining armor.’” - Mildred Solar Cortes