If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a maritime accident, then you or your loved one may be confused about your legal rights. Maybe your employer or the employer’s insurance adjuster is commanding that you sign documents, or annoying you to make a recorded statement, or trying to guide you into visiting a particular doctor that they choose. If these situations sound familiar, then you must get the help of an experienced offshore injury lawyer.
Knowing and understanding your rights to medical coverage after you or a loved one were injured in an offshore accident is vital. Several medical rights revolve around the type of care you are entitled to receive after being injured in an offshore accident. It is important to understand your medical rights and safeguard them seeing as how your financial recovery for pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, and other financial compensation is implicitly connected to your doctor’s assessment of your health, mental, and physical condition.
- The right to pick your doctor. Presumably, the most influential choice you can execute is who you want to be your doctor. You should pick a doctor you feel most comfortable with and a doctor that you can depend on to give the best medical determinations for your health and safety. Do not let your insurance carrier or your employer bully you into choosing a doctor that they prefer – remember you have the right to choose. In some cases, employers and insurance carriers will stubbornly insist and annoy that you visit a particular doctor and in some cases will threaten that if you do not visit their provider, then you will forfeit your rights to medical benefits. Do not be misled or fooled into believing this as the law implicitly states that you have the choice of who to see for your care. While your employer does have the right to compel you to see a doctor of their choosing for evaluation purposes, this does not fall into the category of a treating doctor, so remember you can choose to see a doctor who you wish to treat you for your injuries. An accomplished lawyer can guide you when you are compelled to visit your employer’s doctor. What is more, an accomplished lawyer can assist you in the process of when and to what extent you must furnish your employer or their insurance carrier access to your private medical records.
- The right to decline to sign any paperwork in trade for maintenance payments or medical benefits. The best thing you can do to help yourself and help your family is to refuse to sign any paperwork until after you have spoken to a dedicated offshore lawyer. Although an insurance adjuster is permitted to visit you at the hospital, nonetheless, the adjuster cannot require you to sign any papers or other materials. You should not sign any paperwork unless you’ve talked to a determined offshore injury lawyer because many times the paperwork that you sign after an injury is usually an agreement to have your injury case tried in arbitration, meaning your employer has more power. Your medical benefits are conditioned on your doctor’s evaluation and assessment of your injuries. Therefore, do not believe that your unwillingness to not sign an insurance document or piece of paper equates to anything other than protecting your legal rights. 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 provide a recorded statement or a written statement. While you are obligated by law to report your injury accident promptly in addition to following company policies and procedures, nevertheless you are not obligated by law to give an insurance adjuster or your employer a recorded statement. Empirical studies have shown over and over again that short-term memories are constantly fragmented and, as a result, it is more than plausible to state that you do not recall the events in their complete accuracy after experiencing an injury-causing accident. You should hire a dedicated offshore injury lawyer as quickly as possible after your accident to help you to prepare your statement as it is often an uphill battle to amend an already recorded statement made by an injured victim because they failed to remember the events as they transpired.
- The right to medical benefits regardless of fault. An injured seaman, under the Jones Act, has the legal right to utter and full medical benefits, till the injured worker makes a complete recovery, regardless of who is at fault for the injury-causing accident.
- The right to medical treatment. If your employer requires you to get a second opinion after a situation has arisen where two doctors disagree about the injury, then the doubt is resolved in favor of the injured worker. Thus, if an evaluation doctor recommends a different type of treatment than your own chosen doctor, then under the Jones Act, any and all doubts are resolved in favor of the injured seaman receiving the treatment that your chosen doctor recommended.
- The right to treatment even if the injury was from a pre-existing medical condition. Many times a worker is injured by an accident that aggravates a pre-existing injury condition. As you can likely imagine, insurance carriers and employers try to slither out of their responsibility by arguing that they are not responsible or treatment since it was a condition that existed before the accident. Nonetheless, if your doctor can present medical proof that your pre-existing medical condition was worsened by your injury-causing accident, then the insurance carrier or employer is required to pay for your treatment.
Maritime law is complex, and in some cases may be challenging to know how and when to exercise your legal rights when an insurance carrier or employer are putting pressure on you, simply as a result of you being the victim of an injury. The skilled maritime injury lawyers at the Testa Law Group can assist you in building a compelling and strong case that will secure money to make sure your medical bills are paid and that you walk away with money in your pocket. To understand your medical rights and to inquire about how we can assist you and your family on your road to recovery, please call (877) 780-9052 to schedule a free complimentary consultation with an experienced offshore injury lawyer.