How To Handle Your Jones Act / Maritime Law Injury Claim

Working offshore can be financially rewarding, but it can also be very dangerous.  As a result, Jones Act and Maritime law personal injury cases require the utmost care from start to end.  These are a few tips that may assist the injured worker:

1. Protect Your Rights From the Beginning!

Maritime employers and their insurers are extremely experienced in reducing the dollar value of injured workers’ claims.    This is why it is important that injured workers contact an experienced Jones Act / Maritime law lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.  However, we know that isn’t exactly possible immediately following an injury.  In order to protect yourself before you have a chance to hire an attorney, here are some pointers:

  • DO:  Report your accident / injury as soon as possible
  • DO:  Hold on to all documentation that you have regarding the injury
  • DO:  Seek medical treatment
  • DO:  If possible, determine the cause of the accident
  • DO:  If you are sent to the company doctor, request diagnostic testing (MRI if appropriate).  This may provide objective evidence of your injury that will prevent the company doctor from simply saying that you're not injured. This requires that you request the test! The doctor may not want to give it to you, but its best that you try.  Besides, if the doctor wrongly denies giving you diagnostic testing, this will help you in the future to show his bias
  • DON’T:  Give a recorded statement until you have had a chance to speak to your attorney (be firm, don’t let anyone pressure you on this!).  It is critical that you speak to a Jones Act attorney before giving a recorded statement to a company investigator. Insurance company investigators are very good at reducing the dollar value of a claim by catching injured workers off guard in the recorded statement.  Do not let it happen to you.
  • DON’T: Sign any paperwork which misstates any fact
  • DON’T:  Wait to get medical treatment
  • DON'T:  Try to hide prior injuries or missrepresent the facts of your case.

2. Hire An Experienced Jones Act / Maritime law attorney

Quite frankly, most personal injury lawyers don’t know much about the Jones Act or Maritime law.   You need to find a lawyer who is an expert in those areas.  We encourage you to fully research the internet and learn as much as possible about both the Jones Act / Maritime law as well as get a list of lawyers that you think are well qualified.  Once you have identified several lawyers, call them and interview them regarding your case.

If you are unable to talk to the head lawyer at the firm within 24 hours, you should scratch that lawyer from your list immediately!  We receive many calls from individuals that are forced to fire their current attorneys because that attorney is either too busy or just doesn’t communicate with their client.  If you identify this problem from the first phone call, you should go elsewhere.

Talk with the lawyer not only about your case, but also about their experience.  Ask the lawyer how many Jones Act / Maritime injury cases they have handled, if they have handled similar cases to your case, and their track record.  Well qualified and knowledgeable Jones Act / Maritime lawyers will welcome this conversation.

Lastly, be sure before hiring the lawyer, you feel that there is a good “fit”.  You obviously will have a more positive experience if you have a friendly and positive working relationship with your lawyer.

If you or a relative has been injured while working offshore on a vessel, or structure of any type, call an experienced Jones Act / Maritime Lawyer at the Law Offices of White Flood today.  For more information, you can visit our web site at www.whiteflood.com or www.maritime-injury-lawyer.com or call us toll free 1-866-500-4394 or by email at info@whiteflood.com.  All consultations are free.  No recovery, no fee.


From the Author: Houston Injury Lawyer Attorney Brian White

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