For 17 years I have been working in the field of legal aid to the seafarers and their families in achieving the compensations due to the loss of work capacity, and I can say for sure that the most difficult category of cases is illness during the contract period, especially if we speak about frightful disease such as cancer.
I know for sure that many marine lawyers in Ukraine even don’t try to take on such cases, as well as many of my colleagues abroad. It is considered to be just a waste of time. They might be right, but my statistics proves the other.
Every fifth futile case is being closed by the compensation remittance.
20% out of total number of cases concerning the cancer it’s not much, but still better than refusal in assistance to the family and not even trying to help.
Why is this very category of cases so complicated? Everything is easy here. Either to the seafarer or his marine lawyer it’s very hard to prove the affect of productive factor on the disease arising.
The basic mistake of the majority of the marine lawyers is that they refuse to take into account the results of the medical examination of the seafarer before going to the sea, forgetting or refusing to take into account the fact that this very examination is unable to identify the disease itself. And build up their case only on the basis of lack of mentioning about the disease before the contract period and FIT FOR DUTY mark.
As a matter of fact, it’s just one of the factors for negotiating with the company, but not the only one. It should be accompanied by the conclusion of the competent medical commission on the existence of the cause-effect relationship between the job and health condition.
And this very document is very hard to be received. I can judge from my own practice. Neither any doctor nor any commission will write and trace 100% relationship. As a rule the doctors write that the factors present on the vessel could have affected. No more than this.
The phrases “could have affected” and ” trace connection” have quite different legal force.
By means of these very vague terms we have to prove the company’s guilt and attempt to get the compensations for the seafarers.
Currently I have taken some such cases on, and to tell you the truth I’m not quite sure in positive results in favour of the seafarers.
But having the experience, knowledge and being eager to help the seafarers even in futile cases, I will try to break my personal statistics and increase the level of good results for the no-win cases from 20% to at least 30%.
I’d like to repeat, I’m not afraid of the no-win cases and take them on. If there is a slightest chance to help, I am helping.