An injury suffered at sea can have a tremendous impact on your life. It can leave you with unbearable physical pain, devastating financial strain and oppressive emotional turmoil. While many of these harms are felt immediately in the aftermath of an accident at sea, they’re often also long-lasting, sometimes effecting you for years or even decades after the onset of your injuries.
Fortunately, you can take legal action to try to offset your losses. But given that these accidents occur on navigable waters, you might face some legal nuances that you didn’t expect. This includes figuring out what you can recover in the aftermath of your accident.
What can you recover after being injured on a ship?
The good news is that you have a couple of options. Under general maritime law, you’re entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers your daily living expenses, which might include your housing and food costs. These benefits last until you’re able to return to your job. Cure, on the other hand, pertains to your medical expenses. Here, your employer should foot the bill for any medical care that you need until you’re able to return to work. These benefits can be huge to your recovery.
Other recoverable damages under the Jones Act
Even though maintenance and cure can go a long way toward offsetting your losses, your damages may still far exceed what these recoveries can offer. That’s why if you’ve been injured at sea you might want to also consider pursuing a claim under the Jones Act.
Here, you can recover any of the following if you’re successful on your claim:
- Lost wages
- Anticipated lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
These losses can be quite significant, so you’ll want to be diligent in tracking your damages and articulating them to the court.
How much will you recover from your claim?
It really depends on the facts at hand. Each of the following factors may have an impact on how much you recover from a successful claim:
- The type of injuries that you suffered
- The severity of your injuries
- Any lingering complications of your medical condition
- The impact that your injuries have had on your daily living
- Any emotional turmoil that you’ve experienced
To maximize your recovery, then, you’ll want to gather evidence that speaks to each of these factors. While your medical and employment records may help here, you can’t overlook the importance of witness testimony and your own personal accounts of how your injuries have reshaped your life. Therefore, you might want to consider keeping a journal of how your injuries have negatively impacted your life so that you can more easily recall those facts when the time comes to present evidence in court.
Time is of the essence
There are timelines associated with a Jones Act claim. You’ll have to meet those if you want to protect your interests and your ability to recover compensation. If you’re too late, you’ll likely be denied any and all relief outside of maintenance and cure, which can spell trouble for your future.
Don’t leave your future to chance
There’s certainly a lot at stake after you’ve been injured in one of these accidents. With that in mind, you should work to anticipate everything that could go wrong in your case and prepare to counter accordingly. An attorney who has a track record of successfully navigating maritime law and Jones Act cases can help you do that while giving you the advice and guidance that you need to make the informed decisions that are right for you and your future.