Maritime workers are entitled to file a claim and receive compensation under the Jones Act in the event of an on-the-job injury. However, there are some important tips and steps to take into consideration before filing a claim.
If an employee was injured due to negligence on the part of their employer or another employee who was working with them during their shift, then they may be able to file a Jones Act claim against their employer and possibly any other at-fault parties involved in the incident as well. Claims can include lost wages, medical expenses associated with the injury, pain and suffering damages, and more depending on individual circumstances and state laws that may apply in certain cases.
Before anything else, it is important that you first finish medical treatment for any injuries you sustained. This means that if you have not yet fully recovered physically or if you still require medical attention, this should be tended to before taking further action.
You Can Choose Your Own Doctor
When you are injured on the job, you have the right to select your own doctor for medical care.
In addition to having the right of selection, you also have the right to a second opinion which allows you to seek an additional opinion from another physician if necessary.
Even if you have already been seen by a company physician, you can choose another doctor entirely for another opinion. This can be incredibly beneficial if you feel as though your injuries were not correctly diagnosed or treated by your employer’s doctor.
If it turns out that the treatment plan proposed by your preferred doctor is different than what was suggested by either a company doctor or another specialist, then it is within your rights under the Jones Act to follow that treatment plan instead.
Risks of Seeing Company Doctor
When you are injured on the job, it is important to consider who you seek medical treatment from. Many employers suggest that the injured employee see a company doctor, but there are risks associated with doing so.
It is important to remember that company doctors typically work for the employer rather than the individual when it comes to injury cases. As such, they have interests outside of your well-being, which can lead to issues in terms of care and treatment plans.
They may attempt to undermine or downplay injuries, push for earlier return-to-work dates, offer minimal treatments or referrals, provide medical information directly to the employer without consent from the employee, refuse specialty care or long-term treatments, force long-distance travel for medical treatment, and ask employees to sign releases without their presence or legal counsel present.
Ultimately, it is up to you who you go to for medical advice following an injury. Don’t let your employer rush or pressure you into making decisions about who to see for medical advice.
If there are any concerns about going with a company doctor versus another option like an independent practitioner or specialist, speak with a lawyer who has experience in this area of law before making any decisions. If you need help after a maritime injury in Gulfport, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.