As a maritime worker, you have rights under the Jones Act to file a claim and recover compensation for any damages and injuries you sustained. Before you begin filing your claim, it’s best to complete your medical treatment for your injuries as much as possible.
While your employer can recommend that you see a doctor of their choosing, this is entirely your choice. Your employer can’t force or coerce you into seeing the company doctor. In most cases, it’s best to see a doctor of your choice instead of a doctor picked by your employer.
Why Is It Risky to See a Company Doctor?
Even though it may seem convenient, seeing a company doctor isn’t without its risks. It’s not that the doctors themselves are low quality, but more so that a company doctor has other interests outside of just your wellbeing. It’s well known that company doctors:
- Can try to undermine and downplay the injuries you’ve sustained.
- Push you to return to work before your injuries get completely healed.
- Provide your medical information to your employer.
- Refuse to allow you to see any other doctor or specialist.
- Make you travel absurd distances just to get further medical treatment or physical therapy.
In essence, a company doctor works for your company. Your company may be altruistic and genuinely want to help you, but this isn’t the case in almost every situation. Their goal is to try and get you working while also paying you the bare minimum for your damages.
It’s your choice whether or not to see your company doctor. However, remember that your company doctor will most likely not be on your side in your fight for a fair settlement. Always remember these risks when deciding who to go to for medical treatment.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
Shouldn’t I Accept My Company’s Settlement Offer?
If your company offers you complete coverage on medical treatment plus a fast cash settlement, it may be enticing to take them up on that offer. However, while there are some cases where this offer is optimal, you shouldn’t just blindly accept their deal.
Before you sign or verbally agree to anything, it’s best to consult with an attorney. You need to remember that your company is a business, and businesses are primarily interested in protecting themselves and saving money. Whatever deal they’re offering you is probably not out of the goodness of their hearts.
The offshore injury attorneys at Morris Bart can help you understand your rights under the Jones Act. We won’t let you accept a deal that cheats you out of a settlement that properly reflects the injuries and damages you sustained.
What if My Company Is Pressuring Me?
Even though your company can recommend you a doctor, they can’t pressure you by:
- Threatening to fire you.
- Threatening to reduce your pay significantly.
- Constantly harassing you to convince you to forego legal representation.
Maritime law is absolutely clear. You don’t have to use the company doctor, and they can’t retaliate against you for exercising your rights. If your company is pressuring you to go to their doctor, you need to speak with a lawyer to learn about the legal options available for your case.
Get Medical Treatment Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
46 U.S. Code § 30106 under the Jones Act provides maritime workers only three years to file a claim. Three years seems like ample amounts of time to get started, but don’t take it lightly. Unfortunately, many people squander the time they have and end up losing out on significant portions of their claims.
Getting treatment for your injuries is essential when filing a claim. It proves that your injuries are serious and that the resulting damages from them are genuine. Unfortunately, seeing a company doctor may stall or undermine the medical process and hinder your chances of getting compensated.
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What Can I Do if I’m Stuck in My Claim?
If your employer refuses to budge and constantly pressuring you to use their doctor, you may feel stuck in your claim. When you feel like you don’t know where to proceed with your claim, it’s best to reach out to an attorney as soon as you can.
An attorney can help you in several different ways, including:
- Helping you locate unbiased and quality medical care
- Filing all your paperwork on time and correctly
- Providing expert legal advice and representing you during negotiations or at court
- Helping you gather up all your evidence and building a strong case for your claim
We have offshore injury attorneys that can help you fight back against your employer, the insurance company, and any other party that gets in the way of your settlement. With more than 40 years of experience, our case results speak for themselves.
Speak to an Experienced Offshore Injury Lawyer Today
Don’t feel forced to use a company doctor. The offshore injury lawyers here at Morris Bart are ready to assist you during this challenging time. To get your free consultation, you can contact us 24/7 online or over the phone to schedule an appointment.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.