A New Chapter
Everything was great. You got along with everyone on the vessel. Your boss was so nice to you before you got hurt. But now that you’re pursuing a Jones Act claim, all of that nice stuff is gone. You’re not sure if you can trust anyone—even your coworkers—as you press your claim for the Jones Act benefits you deserve. I have seen this time and again. You are going to see that it is you against everyone else on the vessel.
Unfortunately, your suspicions about your employer may be correct. I have seen it time and again. Here are a few ways employers may encourage injured maritime workers to ruin their Jones Act claims:
The Company Doctor:
Sometimes employers may seem overly sympathetic as a way of gathering information against the worker. For instance, they may suggest that you receive all treatment through the company doctor. This is NOT the best option for you, as doctors paid through your employer will attempt to get you to return to work as quickly as possible. Some employers even send a coworker to the emergency room with the worker—not to make sure he gets there, but to take notes on the injured person’s behavior that can later be used against him.
Employers will often request than an injured worker fill out an accident report form. Some of these forms include a section for the employee to write who is at fault. Many employees ruin their case right away by claiming they were at fault for the accident, or by refraining to name the company in case the employer takes action against them. If your employer’s accident form requests that you name the party at fault, you should leave the item blank or write that is was the vessel's fault.
Don't Sign Anything:
You should NOT sign any papers before you receive medical treatment, so if your employer attempts to deny benefits until you sign something, always refuse and seek a seasoned Jones Act attorney’s advice.
Running Out The Clock:
Most employees don’t realize that the time period for filing a Jones Act claim is limited. If you do not report your injury as soon as possible, or if you continue working after the injury occurs, you could be denied benefits—and your employer is unlikely to remind you to file for them.
What If I Already Made These Mistakes in My Claim?
Even if you have already made these errors in your case, you could still get your benefits with the advice of a Jones Act attorney. Click the contact link on this page to find out how we can help.
Know this, you don't have to go this alone. Trying to navigate a Jones Act case when you are up against the vessel and their adjusters is a tough way to go.
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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.