I was injured on a barge. I don't like the company doctor. Can I choose my own doctor?

If you are injured on a barge or on almost any kind of vessel, or on an offshore drilling rig, then under the Jones Act you have the right to receive medical treatment by any doctor of your choosing.  Most offshore injury victims are surprised to hear this.  The company certainly doesn't tell you this is the law - in fact, most of the time the company tells you that you must see the company doctor.  It is unfortunate that companies in the maritime industry often misrepresent offshore injury law to their employees in this way.

Under the "maintenance & cure" rules of the Jones Act, your company must pay all of your medical bills related to your offshore injury.  Companies often steer their employees towards company doctors.  They do this because the company doctors know the "program" - give you minimal treatment and send you back to work as soon as possible.

Many offshore workers figure out that the company doctor does not have their best interests in mind, and is basically working for the company's best interests.  

If you find yourself in this situation, simply stop seeing the company doctor and find a doctor on your own.  Your employer must pay the medical bills of the doctor you choose.

Sometimes the company will give you a hard time if you go see a doctor of your own choosing.  If you experience this, it may be time to consult with a Jones Act lawyer.

We are often hired by offshore workers who are injured and want to see independent doctors rather than company doctors.  The company is giving them a hard time.  We step in, and are able to make sure our clients get the medical treatment they need, from independent doctors - not from company doctors.  

Unfortunately, some maritime companies won't follow the Jones Act law that allows injured offshore workers to see doctors of their choosing until the workers hire a qualfied Jones Act attorney.

Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.