What is the Process of Filing a Jones Act Claim?
Seeking compensation after being injured as a maritime worker can be tricky. The Jones Act is the law that provides compensation to injured merchant seamen who must meet specific criteria. A seaman is a person who spends a significant amount of time working as a crewmember or as a captain on a vessel in navigation. Navigating the Jones Act can be complicated, it is advisable that injured maritime workers seek legal advice from a professional maritime injury lawyer.
Qualifying as a Seaman
The time requirement is usually satisfied if you spend at least 30 percent of total employment on a vessel. A vessel in navigation is one that can move in operation on navigable waters. Navigable waters include bodies of water involved in interstate or foreign commerce. Oceans and waters connected directly into navigable waters qualify, as well as land-locked lakes that extend into multiple states or connect to a river in another state.
Compensation for Injuries
To qualify for compensation under a Jones Act claim, several steps must be followed, which include:
- Reporting the accident
- Making a statement
- Seeking medical treatment
- Settling the claim or file suit
Although the steps seem simple, they can easily become complicated. Your employer is interested in admitting as little fault as possible, and the insurance company is interested in paying little to no compensation. Accordingly, there are tactics used during the claims process that can compromise your ability to obtain compensation.
You are barred from a claim unless you report your injury within seven days. However, if you wait any amount of time after the injury to report it, then the employer may have reason to believe that you were not seriously injured. It is always in your best interests to report an accident immediately.
Making a Statement
Employers need to receive a statement from you. If you are on medication for your injury and are not thinking clearly, you may request some time before you provide a statement. The insurance company will also ask you to give them a statement, preferably on video. You are not obligated to provide this statement, and it is best to avoid doing so, if possible.
Your medical record is a vital part of your claim. After you are treated at sea or airlifted to a hospital, seek medical care by your own physician. Be sure you obtain records of any emergency treatment. Follow your doctor’s orders and keep appointments. Missed appointments are often used as evidence against you. It is best not to settle a case until you are back to work.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Injured Seamen Navigate the Jones Act Claim Process
If you are an injured maritime worker who is seeking compensation after a maritime accident, we can assist you. Our dedicated Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. help injured seamen file a claim under the Jones Act and protect their rights. Contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962 for a free consultation today. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.