While working on an oil platform, I came down with a serious case of the flu, which incapacitated me for weeks and resulted in my being evacuated to a mainland hospital. Now, my employer is refusing to pay my hospital bills, saying he is no longer responsible for my medical care. What can I do?

This is a common strategy of maritime employers, which are always eager to “cut their losses” on ill employees as soon as possible, in order to preserve their bottom lines. The fact is that, if you had not been working on that oil platform, you would not have been exposed to the flu (and it's not unusual for diseases to become epidemic on oil platforms, which are tight-knit communities in which workers have no choice but to come into regular, physical contact). And if you had not been exposed to the flu, you would not have wound up in serious enough condition to be sent to a mainland hospital!

No matter the circumstances under which you became ill at sea—whether you unknowingly brought the virus on board with you, ate tainted food (resulting in food poisoning), or contracted the flu from a coworker—your employer is on the hook to pay your medical bills, even if your most expensive treatment transpires on the mainland. If you find yourself being stonewalled by a company bureaucrat, you have no choice but to hire a mainland attorney who can file a claim for you under the Jones Act, under which your employer must pay all of your medical bills until you have reached a state of “maximum medical improvement.”

It's not unusual for offshore employers to balk at paying hospital bills—and it's also not unusual for them to treat their workers callously and zealously guard their precious bank accounts! If you fell ill at sea, you deserve compensation for your medical bills and time off from work. Intrigued? Contact the Jones Act and offshore law experts at V&B Attorneys (877-724-7800) to find out more today!