An injury that occurs on navigable waters can be severe. And those injuries oftentimes don’t leave you with just physical harm and limitations. They can also leave you with extensive mental, emotional, and financial damages, too.
While a Jones Act claim might lead to a positive outcome if you’ve been injured in an incident on board a vessel, you’re going to have to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate not only that your claim qualifies under the Jones Act, and you’ll also have to demonstrate the extent of your harm. If you skimp on this second part of your case, then you can be left without the compensation that you need to secure stability and pay for your recovery.
Proving your damages
But how do you go about proving your damages? First, you might want to start by considering your economic losses. These can include the following:
- Incurred medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Incurred rehabilitation costs
- Expected rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Expected lost wages
- Lost earnings capacity
- Other expenses related to your recovery
So, to prove economic damages, you’ll want to make sure that you’re keeping track of the bills that accumulate and all receipts for payments that you have made for goods and services related to your injuries. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re following your doctor’s recommendations so that you can present a clear picture of your need for future care and treatment, as well as how much that care and treatment will cost. Your employment records can be key, too.
What about non-economic damages?
There are losses that you may experience that are not economic in nature. This includes pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and disfigurement. There’s usually a lot of argument over these damages because they’re difficult to put a number on. Here, you’ll want to appeal to a jury’s emotions by being specific and detailed in describing how your injuries have affected your life. Keeping a journal can be a great way to capture the impact of your injuries, thereby preventing your memories of these moments from becoming hazy.
Who are your witnesses?
When it comes to your damages, you may need an expert witness, like your doctor or an employment professional, who can speak to the anticipated financial damages that you’ll face. You, your family and friends, and your co-workers will probably be your best witnesses when it comes to proving your noneconomic losses.
Should you settle your case?
That depends on the circumstances. However, you shouldn’t sign anything before discussing the particularities of your case with an attorney. Although it might be tempting to snatch up a promise of quick cash, most settlement offers are for far less than what is actually owed. Therefore, you’ll want to conduct an appropriately thorough assessment of your case before you engage in the settlement negotiation process, and don’t buy into claims made by your employer or an insurance company that are aimed at getting you to sign an agreement.
Consider having an aggressive advocate on your side
Jones Act claims are highly specialized. That’s just one reason why you might want an attorney who is experienced in these kinds of cases on your side. With an attorney who can aggressively represent your interests in your corner, you might be able to increase your chances of recovering the compensation that you need and deserve.
But you’re going to have to be proactive in positioning yourself for success. That’s why you might want to consider reaching out to a law firm to discuss your case further.