According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), “Marine accidents killed 1,163 people and caused $197 million in insured losses in 2017.” Maritime jobs present numerous dangers for workers and, in some cases, can cause serious and life-changing injuries.
If you or a loved one experienced injuries at sea, you may be eligible to receive compensation under the Jones Act. However, the specific damages that may be covered under the act can be unclear. For this reason, a Louisiana maritime law firm, like the Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux, can help you better understand your legal options. We have helped numerous injured victims obtain the compensation they are rightfully owed.
The Jones Act
Established in 1920, the Jones Act is intended to provide compensation for maritime workers who are injured due to the negligence of a fellow seaman, vessel owner, captain, or another member of the crew.
Who Is Protected Under the Jones Act?
Some of the workers that are protected under the act include the following:
- Oil rig workers
The Process of Filing a Jones Act Claim
If you or someone you know was injured in an offshore accident, there are five steps that typically must be taken in most Jones Act cases:
1. Report the injury
If you are injured, you should first report your accident to the appropriate party. It’s vital that you notify your supervisor immediately after the accident. If you fail to report the accident, it can damage your claim and your chances of receiving compensation related to your accident.
2. Prepare an accident report
Generally, the company where you’re employed will ask you to fill out an accident report. It’s essential that you fill out this form as accurately and honestly as possible. Most forms include a section that asks who is at fault for the accident, which can be a difficult question to answer. If you believe your company is at fault, it’s important to state that on the form.
Also, keep in mind that insurers may request a recorded statement. However, it’s in your best interest to speak with an attorney before giving a recorded statement to an insurance representative.
3. Receive medical treatment
While some injuries are more severe than others, it’s always important to seek medical attention after an accident. Even if you think your injuries are minor, being evaluated by a medical professional can benefit you and help you obtain fair compensation in the future.
4. Make a decision about hiring an attorney
The process of obtaining fair compensation after an accident at sea is not always simple. If insurers are refusing to pay you what you are entitled to, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced and knowledgeable maritime law firm about your legal options.
5. Settle the case or file a lawsuit
Most cases are settled before a trial becomes necessary. One thing to remember is that you should never settle your case before you have fully recovered from your injuries or reached maximum medical improvement. In some cases, treatment may take longer than expected or your injuries may be worse than they first appear, and if you settle your claim too early, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for future costs related to your injury.
If a settlement amount cannot be agreed upon, then filing a lawsuit may be the next step. In this case, it becomes even more imperative that you have an experienced Louisiana maritime law firm representing you. An experienced lawyer can ensure you have all the right documents and information needed to build a strong case.
What Damages Are Covered Under the Jones Act?
Damages is a financial award given to an injured seaman/maritime worker for the harm caused by the accident. Several factors are taken into account when calculating the amount you may be awarded to fairly compensate you. Compensation can include the following:
Loss of Earnings and Future Wage Loss
Injuries can result in time away from work recover from your injuries, to attend the party, or to attend doctor’s appointments for your injuries. Make sure to keep documentation of missed time from work and any lost wages.
You are entitled to have your employer pay for your medical treatment. Medical expenses are also covered under the act, as well as any future medical treatment that becomes necessary for your recovery. Proving the severity of your injuries is an important part of obtaining compensation, so it’s essential that you attend doctor’s appointments and follow the doctor’s instructions.
Pain and Suffering
You are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering and mental anguish you’ve experienced as a result of the accident. In some cases, injured workers suffer severe mental anguish and PTSD, after a traumatic experience.
According to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, “Compared to workers without the disorder, those with PTSD have greater rates of medical visits, an increased likelihood of unemployment, lower hourly pay, and increased difficulty meeting work-related demands.”
Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?
In the state of Louisiana, an injured maritime victim has three years to file a lawsuit from the date their accident occurred. However, if you’re filing a Jones Act claim against the government, you have two years to file. Due to these strict deadlines, it’s best to contact an experienced lawyer about your accident, so you don’t miss your chance of obtaining fair compensation for damages.
Contact Our Maritime Law Firm to Learn How the Jones Act Can Protect Your Legal Rights
The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux has helped injured victims for nearly 20 years. With our legal experience and attention to detail, we know how to build successful cases on behalf of our clients. Maritime cases are stressful and often time-consuming. For this reason, it’s important that you talk with a lawyer before making any decisions that could negatively affect your claim.
Our Louisiana maritime law firm can help you navigate the legal process. To learn more about how the Jones Act can protect your legal rights, call our law office today at (337) 989-1212, or fill out our free consultation form.