Your husband should return to work after maritime injury only if he can resume his work-related duties at full capacity. Returning to work too soon may jeopardize his right to recover fair compensation permanently in an injury claim. This is true even if your husband later discovers his injuries had not yet fully healed, and he once again must cease working.
A large portion of your husband’s maritime injury claim may hinge on his loss of earning capacity and future wages. For instance, say your 35-year-old husband made $90,000 a year working on an offshore oil platform and suffered an on-the-job accident that resulted in debilitating back injuries. His injuries limit him to onshore work netting only $25,000 a year, resulting in a loss of earning capacity of $65,000 a year. The value of that loss may be multiplied by 15 to 25 years to determine your husband’s diminished earning capacity. This can account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a claim.
Bear in mind, this portion of the injury claim is based on the assertion that your husband is unable to return to full-duty working/earning capacity. An early attempt to return to work contradicts this assertion. This is true even if your husband discovers after a few days or weeks that he was not physically ready to resume his duties.
Your husband’s employer – and its lawyers and insurance company – fully understand maritime law. These parties can use that knowledge to get your husband to inadvertently ruin any future injury claim.
How do they do this? Your husband may feel pressure from his employer to return to work as soon as possible. This may be an unfortunate sign that your husband’s company is taking steps to minimize its liability in a potential maritime claim. By strong-arming your husband into returning to full, unlimited work duty, his employer may be able to avoid having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost earning capacity.
Remember: Your husband first must receive a full-duty medical release before returning to work after injury. This physician’s statement can be used as evidence against your husband’s right to compensation.
Your maritime injury lawyer may advise your husband to return to work only if he is 100 percent certain he can do so at a full, unrestricted working capacity. This means assuming all of his previous job duties, which often includes heavy manual labor. Only then can your husband feel confident that he has returned to his full earning capacity and will not suffer future financial loss due to his injury.
Is your husband unsure of what his next steps should be after a maritime injury? Arm yourself with free information to help protect your husband’s potential claim. Request a free copy of “Secrets to Maintenance and Cure Laws Your Company May Not Want You to Know.” For personalized advice, schedule a free case evaluation by calling (504) 680-4100.
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