Lifting injuries resulting in back pain and other symptoms can have lasting effects far beyond when offshore workers return to shore. Back pain in particular could be a sign of a serious ailment, and it is critical for individuals who suffer lifting injuries on crew boats and other vessels to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, since most lifting injuries are internal, it can often be difficult for offshore workers to convince their employers that they need to take time off to see a doctor. Offshore workers will frequently feel pressured to work through the pain simply because their employers cannot “see” their injuries. But, as someone who works on a crew boat or other offshore vessel, there are laws that protect you, and these laws entitle you to see your own doctor and receive the compensation you need to make a full medical recovery.
Under the Jones Act and other federal maritime laws, workers who suffer injuries in heavy lifting accidents on jack-up rigs, drillships, semisubmersible rigs, and other vessels can seek financial compensation for their medical bills, their lost wages while they are unable to work and any other losses stemming from the accident. All types of lifting injuries are potentially eligible for compensation, including:
Again, the key to protecting your legal rights (and your health) is to see your own doctor right away. Do not try to work through the pain, and do not let your employer convince you just to see the company physician. Company physicians will often prescribe only the minimal treatment necessary so that injured employees can return to work, while an independent physician will be focused on ensuring you make as complete a recovery as possible.
If you have suffered a lifting injury offshore, what should you do? Follow these five basic tips from the maritime injury attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP:
First, you should report the accident to your employer. Fill out an accident report and say you want to see your own doctor.
If you are in pain, stop working. Working through the pain could make your injury worse and prolong the recovery process.
Make arrangements to see your doctor as soon as possible; or, if necessary, visit the emergency room for immediate treatment.
Most offshore employers and vessel owners have insurance that covers workers’ injury claims. The insurance company is not on your side, and you should avoid talking to anyone without legal representation.
Finally, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced maritime injury attorney will be able to help you protect your rights and fight to maximize your financial compensation.
If you suffered a lifting injury on a crew boat or other offshore vessel, contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP for a free consultation about your legal rights. We are available 24/7, so call (800) 489-2216 or secure help online now.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.