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How to prove pain and suffering in your Jones Act case

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Maritime Claims, Maritime Law

Being injured at sea can have tremendous implications for your life moving forward. Your harm might knock you out of work for a significant period of time, and the medical expenses associated with your recovery can be overwhelming. Although that can be incredibly stressful to deal with, you can seek relief through a Jones Act claim. While you’ll have the ability to acquire maintenance and cure through this process, those damages alone may not be enough to offset the true extent of your losses.

That’s why the Jones Act allows you to seek additional damages, such as pain and suffering. However, it’s important to note that in order to recover these damages, you’ll have to prove that your employer or a co-worker’s negligence caused your injuries and thus your pain and suffering. Alternatively, you can present evidence that demonstrates that the vessel in question was unseaworthy at the time of your accident.

Proving pain and suffering damages in your maritime injury case

Your first step here is to prove negligence and causation, but after you’ve successfully done that, you’ll still have to present evidence regarding your pain and suffering. But how do you successfully do that?

While there’s no one right answer, there are some steps that you can take to better present your claim in this regard. This includes doing each of the following:

  • Keeping records of mental health treatment: Many victims of a maritime accident suffer damage to their mental health. They might develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or they might slip into depression. If you’re impacted by a mental health condition after your accident, then you’ll want to keep track of not only documentation indicative of your diagnosis, but also those records that show when you’ve sought treatment from a mental health professional.
  • Obtaining written opinions from your mental health providers: Your mental health providers will have an idea of how long your condition is expected to last and how it will impact your life moving forward. You can thus use their opinion to support your case.
  • Keeping a daily journal: One of the best ways to illustrate your pain and suffering is to write about it on a daily basis. By doing so, you can track the extent of your pain and how it negatively impacts your daily living, which can paint a vivid picture for the judge and jury in your case.
  • Turning to family and friends for testimony: A judge or jury may not simply take your word for it when it comes to assessing your pain and suffering. But you can support your story with testimony from those who see how your injuries impact you on a daily basis. This will likely include your family members and friends.

As you present this evidence, keep in mind that the judge and jury will likely assess your pain and suffering in light of a number of factors. This might include the following:

  • The egregiousness of the negligence in question
  • The severity and extent of your injuries
  • The extent that the injuries have impacted your life
  • Any disfigurement that you’ve suffered
  • The prognosis of your injuries

There are other factors that may come into play, which is why you need to take a comprehensive approach to your Jones Act claim.

Aggressively seek the damages you deserve in your Jones Act claim

There’s a lot that goes into building a successful Jones Act claim, but you need to be diligent in preparing your case if you want to aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. That’s why now is the time to start gathering the evidence you need to support your claim and craft the strong legal arguments necessary to position yourself for success.