Mistakes to Avoid When You Are Injured at Sea

As a maritime worker who has injury coverage under the Jones Act of 1920, you should be aware of the right steps to take should you sustain injury at sea. Many seamen have experienced a partial or complete loss of coverage due to mistakes they have made after suffering workplace injuries. Once you have obtained the medical attention you need for your injury at sea, the first person you should call is a Jones Act lawyer. Maritime law firms specialize in defending your right to coverage for your medical bills, time lost from work, and pain and suffering. In addition, take care to avoid the following common mistakes that may reduce or eliminate your Jones Act coverage. Although it is tempting to exaggerate your injuries to inflate your damage award, avoid this common error in judgment. From the emergency physician to the judge in the courtroom, tell people the straight truth about what happened, how it happened and how it has affected you. Attempting to lie about the accident or the severity of your injuries can easily work against you. When the truth comes out, an insurance company or jury is far less likely to award full damages. Do not try to be the nice guy and go along with your employer’s initial offer. If you agree to settle soon after the mishap, you will wind up losing in the end. You do not yet know the long-term implications of your injury, how much time you will lose from work or the amount of therapy you are facing. If you find it hard to stand up to your bosses, refer them to your Jones Act lawyer. Do not listen to coworkers, managers or friends who tell you that you do not need a lawyer. The Jones Act specifically allows your employer and the company insurance carrier to challenge your damage claim in court. They can try to show that you are partially responsible for the workplace accident. This is called comparative negligence, and if the court finds that you are partly at fault, it reduces your compensation accordingly. For example, if you slip on a gangplank where the non-slid surface has worn away, the court may determine you are 30 percent at fault for not wearing appropriate footwear. If you are asking for $10,000 in damages, you would receive the amount minus 30 percent, or $7,000. Maritime law firms are experienced in defending seamen’s rights in such cases, and you should protect yourself by obtaining representation as soon after the accident as possible. Do not sell yourself short by accepting an unfavorable settlement. As your medical bills and lost wages mount, obtaining compensation for your injuries becomes more and more critical. Unscrupulous employers might actually count on your growing hardship to secure an unfair damage settlement from you. At other times, the court calendar may cause untimely delays, forcing you to consider an unfavorable offer. Your Jones Act lawyer defends your rights whether you go to court or settle, obtaining the damage award you rightfully deserve. Take care that you do not put off filing an injury claim too long and end up with a pile of bills and no compensation. Even if you are unable to get legal help yourself due to the severity of your injury, a family member or friend can take the initiative and contact a Jones Act lawyer for you. Your best option following an injury at sea is seeking legal assistance as soon as possible. Your Jones Act Maritime lawyer can help you avoid many of the problems that could prevent you from receiving the compensation that is rightfully yours.