Seaman, Deckhands Crewmen
Some of our tips for seamen, deckhands and crewmen after their injuries are included below. As always, speaking directly with a lawyer will give you the most comprehensive guidance regarding how to proceed after your injury, so call 866-974-9633 and speak with an experienced and qualified maritime lawyer at Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC in Seattle and Anchorage. We offer a free initial consultation so we can tell you what to expect and explain your rights.1. Dealing with insurance adjusters
The insurance adjusters and insurance company claims people are good at what they do. Their number one job is to save the insurance company money. Know your rights so that they can not take advantage of you.2. Do NOT give a recorded statement
An insurance representative or insurance adjuster may ask to record a statement from you. Do not agree to give a recorded statement. You do not have to give them one. A skilled questioner may twist your words around. And, recorded statements can be manipulated. Things can be left out, and important questions not asked. It is best not to give a recorded statement.3. Profits vs. safety
Aboard a fishing boat, ship, or tug, the owner's profits may be given a higher priority than a seaman's safety. Unfortunately, when a crewman is injured onboard ship, most boat owners and employers show little loyalty to their injured crewmen and deckhands.
The vessel owners' insurance companies attempt to pay as little possible in compensation for each claim, oftentimes improperly terminating wage loss, maintenance, and payment of medical bills, prior to a seaman reaching medical stability. The vessel owner's insurance companies employ highly experienced lawyers to represent them. The insurance company's lawyer's job is not to see that the injured seaman receives fair compensation, but rather to save the insurance companies as much money as possible by paying as little as possible on Jones Act injury claims.4. Stacking the deck against you
Frequently, insurance companies refer injured seaman to doctors who are known to give medical opinions favorably slanted towards the insurance companies, and stated in such a manner that will limit the injured seaman's right to further medical care and compensatory damages. The insurance adjuster that is handling the injured crewman's claim is being paid by the vessel owner's insurance company. The insurance adjuster's job is to save the insurance company money.
The insurance companies frequently refuse to authorize treatment, tests, and surgeries, recommended by the injured seaman's treating doctors. They typically suggest a second opinion by a doctor hired by the insurance company to questions the treating doctor's advice to his patient. The doctors hired by the vessel owner's insurance company may rush a seaman back to work who is not ready, or to a fishing job he will not be able to continue at.5. We Can Help You Return To Work
Fair and unbiased medical assessment of an injured seaman's injuries and future work restrictions is important to obtaining fair compensation for an injured crewman. Despite their injuries, most of our clients want to return to work as a seaman. Working as a seaman or fisherman is a job many of our clients love. They also know they will probably never be able to earn as much working shore side as they have working in the past at sea.
Whether you can or cannot return to work as a crewman will depend upon medical evidence about what your future physical restrictions are, and whether or not you can safely do the job without causing further injury to yourself or others. Of course if you have physical restrictions placed upon you by your doctor following your injury, you will probably be entitled to far greater compensation for your accident than if you have no such restrictions. This is why the insurance companies oftentimes want you to be examined only by doctors they select.
At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, we help our clients get the medical treatment they deserve and need to fully recover from their injuries. For a free consultation with one of our experienced maritime attorneys, please contact Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC today.