Those who live in the Seattle-area and work on seafaring vessels are put at an extraordinary amount of risk every day they go to work. Some studies have shown that seamen are at a 70% increased risk of suffering an occupational injury compared to those who work onshore.
The results can be tragic for workers who are injured on a vessel, too, as a maritime injury can leave them disabled, disfigured, pained, and traumatized. Getting back to work in these circumstances can be tough, to say the least, and injured workers can find it difficult to merely get by in the meantime.
If you’ve been harmed on a vessel, then that thought might put you on edge. But don’t worry. You can take legal action under the Jones Act, which could result in the recovery of the compensation, including maintenance and cure, you need to get back on your feet. Before you pursue a Jones Act claim, though, you need to be sure that you don’t inadvertently derail your case by making one of several mistakes.
Errors to avoid when pursuing a Jones Act claim
As with any other type of legal claim, there are a lot of mistakes that can be made in a Jones Act case. This includes:
- Waiting too long to report your injuries: Before you can seek compensation for your injuries, you need to report your harm in a timely manner. If you don’t, then you could be denied the ability to pursue a Jones Act claim. Additionally, any delay in reporting may give the perception that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim them to be, making it an uphill battle to recover what you deserve.
- Utilizing employer-provided medical care: After being injured at sea, your employer might offer to secure medical treatment for you. That might seem nice, but your employer is probably trying to minimize costs rather than look out for your best interests. So, make sure you’re being independently evaluated so that you can secure the treatment that you need.
- Misunderstanding the law: The Jones Act only applies in specific circumstances. Sometimes workers misunderstand the definitions of “seaman,” “navigable waters,” or “vessel.” This can lead to complications and delays in your case.
- Settling too early: As with any other type of personal injury claim, your Jones Act case is probably going to be subjected to settlement talks. Here, you’ll want to be careful that you’re not accepting the first offer pushed your way and that you’re advocating for the compensation that you truly need. Otherwise, you’re going to be left with an award that’s far less than what you deserve.
- Going back to work too quickly: We understand that a lot of injured seamen want to get back to work as quickly as possible, but moving too hastily could jeopardize your claim, as returning to work will cut off your ability to recoup what would otherwise be lost wages and give your employer the ability to take a negative employment action against you for any reason.
- Giving a recorded statement: As your Jones Act claim is analyzed, the insurance company is going to look for any justification possible to deny your claim. If you give a recorded statement, you might give them the ammunition they need. So, make sure you refrain from giving statements to the insurance company until cleared to do so by your attorney.
Navigate your Jones Act claim with confidence
You need your Jones Act claim to succeed if you want to secure financial stability and access to the best medical care. The process can be riddled with complications and nuances, though, which is why you might need some help navigating your claim. However, support is available. So, be sure to consider your options and take the course of action that best protects your interests and your future.