Were you injured in an offshore accident, or was your loved one killed while working offshore? If so, you may be considering legal action, such as filing a claim under the Jones Act.
Before filing a Jones Act claim, you should know a few things. Steps you take before filing a claim and during the course of litigation can make or break your case. Maritime law is complex, and deciphering it requires years of practice. You don’t want to attempt this challenging claim on your own.
An experienced Jones Act litigator, such as those at Grossman Attorneys at Law, can help you build the strongest case possible. Our attorneys help injured workers pursue the compensation they deserve. Our extensive experience with maritime law gives us the insight needed to file even the most challenging claims. Here, we share six tips to consider when filing a Jones Act claim.
What Is a Jones Act Claim?
The Jones Act is a federal law that protects maritime workers who suffer harm on the job. The Act allows them to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. A Jones Act claim can provide the worker compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
This damages award is often much more substantial than the compensation a land-based worker could get through workers’ compensation. Therefore, the Jones Act offers a powerful tool for pursuing financial security for injured workers and their families.
What are the Steps for Filing a Jones Act Claim in Florida?
Before you file a Jones Act claim, you need to consult with an experienced maritime attorney to review your case. A Jones Act lawyer can help you take important steps to put together the best case possible to increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation. You should keep the following pointers in mind after your accident and when filing your claim.
1. Seek Medical Attention
You must seek medical attention immediately after being injured on the job. If you delay seeking treatment, your injuries could get worse. Plus, delaying medical attention could put your Jones Act claim at risk. If you put off treatment, your employer might say that you were injured at a later time when you weren’t working.
However, offshore workers may suffer injuries when they are far out at sea without ready access to medical care. If injured in that situation, you should request a medical evacuation to a U.S. hospital. If you receive treatment in a foreign country, request a transfer to the U.S. as soon as you are stable.
2. Provide Supporting Evidence
A successful Jones Act claim requires supporting evidence to prove your assertions are true. Witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, medical bills, and mental health evaluations can all support your claim. Save all documents related to your accident and bring them to your attorney. If you don’t have enough evidence to build a strong case, our attorneys can hire investigators to find key information.
3. Stay Off Social Media
Just as you need evidence to support your claim, you also need to refrain from doing anything that could hurt your chances of compensation. Posting photos of yourself engaged in leisurely or athletic activity could jeopardize your claim. The wisest course of action is to avoid social media altogether while your case is pending, so you aren’t tempted to post something that could harm your case.
4. Meet the Requirements for Negligence
You must prove that your employer’s negligence contributed to your injury in a Jones Act claim. However, the bar for proving negligence is very low. In a land-based personal injury claim, many states require that you prove the defendant was 50% or more responsible for your injury. Under the Jones Act, if your employer was even 1% responsible for your harm, they can be held liable.
However, the amount of your damages can be reduced by your portion of responsibility. For instance, if you were awarded $1 million in damages, but the court determined that you were 20% responsible for your accident, you would receive $800,000. Your employer has a duty to provide a safe workplace, and any action that contributes to an accident could be grounds for a lawsuit.
5. Take Legal Action Quickly
After your accident, you may be overwhelmed with medical visits and the physical and emotional effects of your accident. Plus, finances may be strained if you’re unable to work. While you may not feel ready to take on the additional stress of a lawsuit, you should not wait long to take legal action.
The Jones Act has a statute of limitations of three years, meaning you must file a claim within three years of the date of your accident. Besides this legal time limit, practical reasons support you acting fast. Evidence tends to disappear quickly in an offshore environment. Our investigators have the best chance of finding substantial evidence if you contact our lawyers soon after your accident.
6. Hire a Jones Act Attorney
If you were injured offshore or a loved one was killed in a maritime accident, you need an experienced maritime attorney. A Jones Act lawsuit requires you to argue against powerful oil company attorneys—and you don’t want to do that yourself. Oil company attorneys count on intimidating you into accepting a low settlement offer.
A skilled maritime lawyer isn’t intimidated by these corporate attorneys and will advocate for your maximum compensation. In fact, there’s no reason for you not to contact an attorney. Maritime lawyers usually work on contingency, so you don’t have to worry about paying them any money upfront.
Contact an Experienced Jones Act Lawyer in Florida for Help
Injured offshore workers deserve excellent legal representation to give them the best chance of obtaining compensation for the harm they suffered. At Grossman Attorneys at Law, we use our years of experience and extensive legal resources to investigate maritime injuries, put together strong Jones Act claims, and negotiate for maximum compensation for injured offshore workers.
Our skilled litigators and negotiators will work to settle your case while preparing to take it to trial. Our ultimate goal is to reduce your stress and provide you and your family with the maximum available compensation. To learn more about how we can pursue your Jones Act claim, contact our lawyers today for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story, explain which maritime law is best for your claim, and answer your questions.