As a maritime attorney, I come across workers who have several misconceptions about their rights after an accident. For instance, one of the questions that I sometimes get asked is whether it is necessary for a maritime worker to be treated only by the company doctor after an injury. The answer to that is an emphatic No. There is no obligation that you have to get your injury seen by your company doctor. You are absolute free to get your injuries treated by a doctor you feel comfortable with. Also, make sure that you receive complete treatment for your injuries and the best possible medical care that you need. If the doctor suggests diagnostic tests to probe your injury, get these done. The more information you have about your injury, the quicker your treatment, and the more solid your compensation claim. There is no way that your employer can force you to be treated by a company doctor, and this has nothing to do with the compensation that you will be eligible for under the Jones Act. Undoubtedly, very often, company doctors who are in the pay of the employer, may have an incentive to minimize the severity of injury. They might even fail to probe your injury, and will try to get you to report to work as quickly as possible. All this could be dangerous for your long-term health.
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