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How do you start the maritime injury claims process?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Maritime Law

An injury suffered at sea can be severe, leaving you with extensive harm that can be difficult to recover from. Your inability to work, coupled with your medical expenses, can take a financial toll, too, leaving you uncertain about your future. Fortunately, there are legal options available that may help offset your financial losses, thereby giving you some breathing room while focusing on your recovery.

But most accident victims are unfamiliar with the maritime injury claims process. As such, they’re unsure where to turn for help and don’t know how to kickstart the process. Don’t let that deter you from taking the action necessary to protect your interests and your future. We hope that this post will give you some direction so that you know where to start the process of advocating for what you deserve.

How to start your maritime injury claim

There are several steps that you’ll need to take after suffering a maritime injury if you want to preserve your ability to file a claim. This includes:

  • Seeking medical treatment: This sounds obvious, but many injured workers make the mistake of thinking that they’re injuries are too minor to warrant medical care or that they’re tough enough to keep working without seeking treatment. But even “minor” injuries can be indicative of something more serious, or they can develop into a more severe condition. Be sure to seek out prompt care for your injuries and document the harm that’s been caused to you. While this can protect your well-being, it can also lay the foundation of your maritime injury law claim.
  • Reporting your injury: As soon as practical, you should report your injuries to your employer. If you don’t do so in a timely fashion, then the insurance company is going to argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim them to be. This can jeopardize your claim. So, be timely and detailed in your reporting.
  • Completing an accident report: When you compile your report, make sure you’re being detailed, thorough, and accurate. If you misconstrue a fact or forget to include an important detail, then you run the risk of losing out on the compensation you need and deserve. It doesn’t hurt to have another set of eyes on your report so that you can get some feedback and ensure that you’re report reads as you intend.
  • Making copies of everything: You don’t want your employer or their insurance company to claim that you never turned in your accident report or other key information, so make copies of all documents provided to your employer so that you can refer to them later, if needed. It’s also a good idea to document conversations that you’ve had with your employer so that they can’t try to go back on those statements.
  • Avoiding a recorded statement: The insurance company will look for ways to devalue your claim. One way they do this is by locking injured workers into statements that are against the injured worker’s own interest. Don’t allow yourself to be duped by the insurance company. Refrain from providing any kind of recorded statement until you’ve consulted with your attorney.

Be prepared to advocate for your needs

The maritime injury claims process is oftentimes more complicated than anticipated. This means that you have to be prepared going into the process. That might leave you concerned, especially if you’ve never had to navigate this process before, but there is help available. By exploring your options, including a Jones Act claim, you’ll hopefully find a path forward that positions you to recover the compensation you need and the recovery you deserve.