For maritime workers, the risk of on-the-job injury is higher than in many other occupations. Knowing your rights is important, and there are a host of errors many workers make when filing maritime claims after being hurt.
Whether you have been injured already or are just looking to become informed about your legal rights, knowing these common mistakes that people make can help you in the event that you become involved in a maritime lawsuit.
1. Not Having Someone Represent YOUR Interests
If you are injured on the job, you can be certain that your employers will have a number of people representing their interests. While you may believe — or just hope — that your company’s intentions are honorable, you cannot have any guarantee that you are receiving the compensation and care to which you are legally entitled.
Consulting an attorney who is experienced in maritime claims will enable you to make sure your rights are adhered to.
2. Waiting Too Long To File
The amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit after an injury may vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, sometimes maritime claims for lost wages must be filed within six months of the injury date. Other times, the statute of limitations for filing may be as long as three years.
Again, this is when having experienced legal counsel will benefit you. Speaking with a lawyer immediately after an injury will ensure that you do not miss the filing deadline for your specific circumstances.
3. Not Being Honest About Your Claim
What your mother told you is true — honesty really is the best policy. Lying or exaggerating about the extent of your injuries or how they occurred does not work and will greatly hurt your case. Remember that the goal of your maritime claim is to get the full compensation you are entitled to under the law. Being truthful is the best way to achieve that.
4. Asking For Too Much, Too Little Or Nothing At All
Experienced counsel will be able to advise you on what amount is realistic to ask for in a maritime lawsuit. Compensation for injury claims can vary dramatically depending on the circumstances. You want to avoid unrealistic expectations, but you also do not want to ask for less than what the law allows for in your particular injury — something a claims representative may be eager for you to do.
And if you have been injured, do not make the mistake of asking for no compensation. Maritime laws were written for your protection. Allow the laws to work for you.
5. Filing For Unemployment Benefits
If an injury has left you unable to perform your job, you may be considering filing for unemployment benefits to help pay your bills. This could be a huge mistake for a maritime claim.
Depending on your state, the unemployment benefits agency may require you to state in writing that you are still able to perform your job at the company you worked for. If you are in the midst of an injury claim, signing such a form could be devastating to your case. Your maritime lawyer should be consulted before filing for benefits or signing any documentation.
The maritime claims attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers have many years of experience in handling the different types of maritime lawsuits.