The Average Cost of Maritime Worker Injuries
As one researcher recently pointed out in the Journal of Forensic Medicine, America spends about $2.9 trillion on healthcare annually. That amounts to about 18 percent of our national gross domestic product (GDP). Put another way, we spend roughly $9,255 for every man, woman, child, and infant in this country each and every year.
With the cost of healthcare rising rapidly, a simple broken bone or back injury can mean crushing expenses for a family. When maritime workers are injured, it can be even worse, because medical care can often be delayed. At Michael F. Guilford, P.A., we strive to help injured seamen and other maritime workers recover fair and just compensation after an injury.
Common Costs Incurred After a Maritime Injury
The Healthcare Bluebook provides a rough estimate for consumers who want to know the fair price of healthcare services in their area. Just go to the website, type in your zip code and select the procedure you are planning to have, and you can get a very broad estimate of the anticipated cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, there’s just one hitch. The estimates are extremely broad and rarely include enough detail to make a truly accurate and informed consumer decision.
For example, consider just a few common maritime injuries and the estimated cost of treatment in the Miami, Florida area:
- Compound ankle fracture – $6,500 to $19,000
- Arthroscopic surgical repair of a torn rotator cuff – $4,500 to $26,000
- Total disc replacement (one level) – $16,000 to $50,000
Why Costs Vary So Much
Estimates are necessarily broad because there is such an enormous difference in cost between minor variations in procedures. An arthroscopic procedure can quickly cost thousands more if a specific type of MRI is used or if a particular anesthesia is ordered over another, often perfectly acceptable substitute. Therefore, it’s practically impossible to compare apples to apples the way one would with other major purchases.
What Drives Up Maritime Injury Costs
When a worker is injured at sea, it can be days before they are able to get to dry land for a full medical workup. While some ocean-faring employers have full-service clinics aboard ships, some do not. Even when healthcare services are available at sea, the level of care is rarely suitable for all emergencies. A serious compound fracture or brain injury may demand immediate treatment to reduce the damage. If care is not received quickly, it can lead to more costly surgeries or extended rehabilitation later. Likewise, maritime injuries are often very serious, including fractures, head traumas, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and severe burns.
How a Lawyer Can Help
After a workplace injury, your first priority should always be getting the necessary medical care. Nothing will put you back on your feet and help your family more than you getting better fast. But some employers and their insurance companies are reluctant to pay the bill for injuries. Many will fight an insurance claim and seek ways to limit your financial recovery, all of which can leave your family unprotected.
A skilled Miami maritime injury lawyer can help to protect your rights, preserve your claim, and fight for just compensation, so that you can focus on your health. For help after a serious maritime injury, call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. in Miami today.