What if I am Hurt Abroad?

What Should You Do if You are Injured While Working Abroad?

The Abrams Landau team had an interesting case in which our client was:

  • An Australian National Skating Champion,
  • Performing in the “High School Musical,”
  • Working for “Disney on Ice,”  (Feld Productions),
  • which is part of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus group, out of Baileys Crossroads, Virginia.
  • Injured by another performer’s skate in Paris, France, and
  • served with papers when he landed in Florida to get married !
  • requiring him to see the insurance company doctors and answer the insurance company lawyer’s deposition questions.

After the skater’s leg was cut by another performer, he received excellent medical care back in his home country.  As a former world class competitor, the injured worker received first class care from the top sports medicine specialists in Sydney.  However, the deep laceration would permanently prevent this young athlete from performing the jumps as he had before.  The ice skater could return to skating, but not be the “star of the show.”

As the company was headquartered in Virginia, the workers’ compensation claim was filed in the Commonwealth.  Most of the international performers who contact Doug Landau under these circumstances have not read the “fine print” of their contracts, which state that all disputes are to be resolved under Virginia law, which is very favorable to the employer. This young man returned to Australia for medical treatment and recuperation.  Although he made an impressive recovery, the damage to his leg was such that he could no longer perform his original job.  His medical bills were substantial, but all were incurred in Australia — far out of reach of the insurance company’s watchful eye.  The insurance company was none too pleased about that!

Our client had met the girl of his dreams and was scheduled to be married in Florida.  Upon his arrival at the airport, just days before his scheduled nuptials, he was served with papers from his insurance company — right there on the tarmac!   The company wanted proof that his claim was real, that his medical expenses were legitimate.  They were going to set him up with a job in the “chorus,” skating in the background at a substantial cut in pay.  It was a “set up.” Once back in their control, they could fire this young athlete and terminate his benefits.

What to do now?

The groom-to-be was referred to Herndon Virginia Workers Compensation lawyer Doug Landau since Landau is licensed to practice law up and down the east coast, including Virginia (where the company is) and Florida (where the groom was awaiting his wedding day!).  A phone call to the Abrams Landau office resulted in Doug hopping on a plane to Florida. The deposition was held at the private air terminal.  The insurance company doctor’s medical exam was postponed so as not to interfere with the wedding plans. The wedding was to be a “three ring affair”, written up in Sarasota Magazine.  Landau was able to handle the matter tout suite and the wedding went off without a hitch!  The case was eventually settled.  Landau is pleased to report that the groom is a law student and works for a firm in Australia.

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