Offshore InjuryBlog

How Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Can Affect Your Jones Act Case

When a worker is injured offshore defense attorneys often attempt to limit the injured worker's recovery by arguing that the injured worker is really suffering from a pre-existing medical condition. Using pre-existing medical conditions as a defense is common in personal injury claims. However, the law applies a little bit differently if the injuries happened while working offshore.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions & Offshore Injuries

Offshore workers may be covered by a law known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act entitles injured offshore workers to receive maintenance and cure. The Maintenance payments are supposed to help the injured worker cover his general living expenses. The cure benefits are supposed to be used to pay for medical bills. A company may try to avoid paying an injured worker his maintenance and cure by claiming the "McCorpen Defense" applies. The McCorpen Defense can excuse a company's obligation to pay maintenance and cure if (1) an injured worker intentionally and knowingly withheld information about a pre-existing medical condition from the company during the hiring process; (2) the non-disclosed facts were important to the company's decision to hire the injured worker; and (3) there is a link between the concealed pre-existing injury and the new injury.

Evoking the McCorpen Defense is a common tactic in offshore injury cases, but the application of the law is complex. If the McCorpen Defense comes up in a case, it is important to have a lawyer who understands the legal framework that applies. Arnold & Itkin LLP has successfully defeated many McCorpen claims over the years.

Protecting Yourself from the McCorpen Defense

If you have been injured offshore and have a pre-existing medical condition, it is very likely that the company will attempt to use that condition against you—even if it had no bearing on your current injury. It is important that you have an attorney that is intimately familiar with the Jones Act and other parts of maritime law to make sure your legal rights are fully protected. At Arnold & Itkin, we focus on maritime law. For more than a decade, our litigation team has helped injured offshore workers receive the full amount of compensation they are entitled to. Contact our offshore injury attorneys today to learn how we can help you.

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