Dutch Harbor, AK
Dutch Harbor is well known to the fisheries and maritime industries. It is truly a "last frontier" and, for some, is much like the Wild West frontier experience of yesteryear.
Most serious maritime injury cases in the Bering Sea whether fishing, crabbing or merchant marine end up being taken to Dutch Harbor to the Iliuliuk Clinic. The Iliuliuk Clinic is often the first step on the journey to treatment following injury in the Bering Sea.
Medical treatment at the Iliuliuk Clinic is often solely to stabilize and evaluate before medical evacuation or transportation to attention by a specialist in Anchorage, Seattle or the injured person's hometown.
It is not uncommon for a company representative or insurance adjuster to become involved in a maritime injury claim, especially in the case of serious personal injury, at the very first moment of treatment, including when an injured person first appears at the Clinic. Even though it is at this time that a seriously injured fisherman, crabber, processor or merchant mariner is most vulnerable, a claims representative or an employer's agent may already be in the process of taking control over important matters that potentially affect a person's rights, including directing a treatment program involving health care providers friendly to the employer or insurance representative.
We have had many clients contact us upon arrival at Dutch Harbor. Sometimes, we are able to assist an injured individual with physician selection and health care treatment more appropriate to a client's interests and less connected with the employer or insurance representative. In appropriate cases when we are designated to act as the injured person's representative, we will always insist the employer and/or insurance representative deal with us, thus avoiding the pressure that is sometimes applied immediately following injury to get a potential claimant to do what the employer and/or insurance representative wants, instead of what may be in the best interests of the injured mariner.
In appropriate cases, we will meet with clients or potential claimants in Dutch Harbor to discuss a case or for representation purposes. Often, vessels involved in accidents and injuries are based either temporarily or permanently in Dutch Harbor, and we can dispatch marine safety experts and investigators immediately to investigate an accident and to photograph and document the accident scene, including on the vessel, when speed is critical to record the facts of the personal injury case.