December 2011



Preserve your Rights to Maintenance and Cure

Reporting your injury as soon as possible and feasible is important. Shipowners have traditionally utilized the absence of a report or the delay in reporting an injury to deny maintenance and cure. Recently the law has changed favoring the seaman but the following list of tips should prove helpful.

  1. Report your injury to your superior, preferably a department head/ship's officer, as soon as practical. This is especially important if your accident was unwitnessed.
  2. DON'T rely simply on a verbal report of your injury. Always insist on the completion of a written report.
  3. If asked to make a verbal or written statement to a ship's officer aboard ship as to how the accident occurred, don't admit any fault of your own.
  4. Insist on seeing the medical officer so that a medical log entry is made to document your injury and any treatment.
  5. If your injury is serious enough to warrant medical attention insist on obtaining a Seaman's Request for Medical Attention form and get to a doctor as soon as the vessel arrives in port.
  6. If a shoreside physician determines that your injury would incapacitate you for more than 3 days you will likely be repatriated to your port of shipment.
  7. If there are witnesses to your accident or injury get their names and any contact information for later use.

Question from the bridge:

Dear Mr. Cavin,

My husband contacted me from sea and is having problems with his shoulder and not sure what caused it and what to do about it. Anything I can relay to him?

Deborah, San Pedro, CA

Yes! Often times seamen are not certain as to why they are having symptoms while aboard ship. It is important that your husband reports his problems and relates that they are caused or aggravated by his regular duties. If he can recall a specific event or trauma, so much the better. Before leaving the vessel he should insist on receiving a Request for Medical Attention. This will insure that he will be eligible for maintenance and cure even if his service time is up with this.

About Our Law Firm

For more than four decades, merchant marines, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades on our U.S. coastal waters and inland waterways have turned to the maritime law firm of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland. Today, we are proud to be recognized as one of the preeminent maritime law firms serving injured marine workers nationwide, as well as

one of the most successful personal injury litigation firms serving victims of negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the West Coast.

Team Approach to Every Personal Injury and Jones Act Claim

When you retain Lyle C. Cavin Jr. & Associates with a Jones Act injury claim or personal injury claim, you don't get just one attorney, you get our entire team of dedicated professionals. Our attorneys offer more than 150 combined years of courtroom and negotiated claims settlement experience. We will represent your interests with unwavering dedication, speed and expertise.