May 2015

MAKE SURE YOU REPORT ALL INJURIES!

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Last month, we talked about fully reporting your injuries after a shipboard accident. This month, we want to stress that this admonishment also applies to the shoreside doctors that you see when you first get off the ship. It is imperative to give them a complete history of any injuries you think you may have sustained in the accident. This also applies when you seek shoreside medical attention while still assigned to the vessel!

QUESTION FROM THE BRIDGE

I injured my knee in addition to my back in a shipboard accident. I reported the accident and said I hurt my knee. I didn't mention my back at the time. Now, my knee is better but my back still hurts and I can't go back to work. They keep refusing to pay for treatment for my back. At first they paid maintenance for my knee but have now stopped since my doctor says my knee is fine. What can I do?
Calvin, Houston, TX

Answer:
Calvin,
Hopefully, you mentioned that you also had back pain to the first doctor that saw you shoreside. If not, it will be harder to show that it is related to your accident aboard ship. Depending on the nature of your accident it may be easier to show, especially if the injury is logically connected. While it is true that shipowners are now liable for punitive damages for a willful failure to pay maintenance and cure, it could take years for the issue to resolve. Therefore it is better to report ALL potential injuries, even if you think the pain is minor in comparison to pain somewhere else.

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For more than four decades, merchant mariners, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades at sea, on the docks, 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.

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