One of the most challenging categories of cases for me is a blood stroke or insult on the place of employment. Insult which leads to disability. To be honest, I get down to such cases very rare, as I realize it very well, that it’s very hard to prove the causal connection between the insult and the work, and it’s almost impossible to persuade the ship owner to pay compensation to the seafarer. Besides, in 80% of cases the ship owners and P&I always refuse the seafarer in payment and cover exceptionally hospital and medical expenses. And it’s the very minimum.
This spring a seafarer family applied to me for legal aid on such an issue. I humanly felt sympathy to them, and decided to take on this case, although from the very beginning I didn’t have any illusions as for the success of the issue.
In this case the principle “if you don’t knock the door it will not be opened” worked. And I started knocking this door as hard as I have never done before.
Having studied the documents, the experts’ opinions, I have received several independent medical conclusions and managed to radically change the situation in the seafarer’s favor.
So, from the beginning. SAMBA vessel. Being aboard, my client had a stroke (insult), after which in 9 hours he was delivered to the hospital and received a first medical aid. After that he was brought to Ukraine. The 1st disability group, paralysis of the body, disability to speak and so on and etc. the company refused in compensation. The basis – it’s not an occupational injury but a disease not liable to compensation. Full stop.
Moreover, the vessel my client worked on was resold and, therefore, I had no physical opportunity to arrest it abroad. In the whole, everything was unsuccessful.
I must confess I had a little chance, until started studying the nature of the disease itself. I guess very soon to be able to receive a medical degree, so deep the issue was studied.
In the process of studying I found the way, and more exactly, the hope to the positive solution of the issue.
There are different means of conducting the case. Persuasion, intimidation and so on and etc. And in this case I used an extreme arrogance on my part and complete confidence in my abilities and actions.
I’d rather told more than possible, almost on the brink of a foul.
There was a moment when I was accused of blackmailing and so on. Well, you can imagine our negotiations with the company.
And everything started after I managed to find a weak place and some miscalculations in this case. The basic miscalculation was their producing to me the document as for the first medical aid provided only when 9 hours passed.
Any first-year student of a medical school can tell you that the first aid should be provided in the first 2-3 hours. Only in this case it’s possible to avoid serious consequences. As you’ve got it, a grabbed a trump card, though a small one, but still the trump in my hand. Further on – a great number of medical examinations and conclusions which conclusively proved that the medical aid wasn’t duly provided and the delay brought to such consequences.
Generally, the company still declines its responsibility for the accident, nevertheless how strange it can be, started proposing the money.
To sue will be much more expensive, and I let them realize that I will bring this case up to the end and not in Ukraine.
It’s a principle issue.
The result. Long term negotiation between me, as the family representative, and the company… and as a result – the family accepted the company’s proposal of 55 000$ as a compensation.
Taking into account all the difficulties of the case and my wish to fight for much bigger sum, the family still decided to take 55 000$… and probably it was the right decision in this case.
It’s not good when the lawyers’ ambitions go beyond the limits (although, frankly speaking, I thought to pursue fighting)
The main thing is that my client is satisfied and is grateful. The money is being prepared to be paid.
The conclusion is that not every hopeless case is really hopeless. The case is closed.