If you have become injured while working at sea on navigable waters, filing a Jones Act claim can get you compensation for your injuries—but, unless you have the right documentation to support your claim, a personal injury lawyer may have trouble winning your case. Here’s what you need to ensure you have on hand when filing your claim.
The first thing you should do as soon as possible after having sustained any injury at sea is to file an accident report through your employer. This report should be completed by a manager or supervisor and be as detailed as possible so it can provide enough information about the incident for your maritime attorney to confirm negligence on the part of your employer.
Along with completing the report, you need to ensure that it’s filed within seven days from the day you sustained an injury. In addition, you should make sure that the captain has entered the report into the ship’s log, and that your supervisor has sent your accident report to the human resources department of your employer.
When you become injured at sea, the best place you can go is to the ship’s doctor. They will be able to treat your injuries, but they will also be able to provide you with the information you need to make a Jones Act claim. Once you’ve received medical treatment, request copies of test results, x-rays, and all other official documentation from the doctor.
Along with official reports and medical test copies, you’ll also want to gather information from witnesses and photos of the scene and note any faulty equipment. This information can help you greatly when the time comes to file your personal injury claim.
Important documentation that can support your maritime injury case includes your medical bills. Get copies made of these bills and keep the originals with your other documentation in a spot that’s easy to access.
Along with all of the things you should do in order to benefit your claim, there are also a number of things that you shouldn’t do. For example, after you become injured and have been examined by the ship’s doctor, you should allow your captain to evacuate you from the ship. This will show that your injury was serious enough that you did not return to work.
You’ll also want to ensure when filling out your accident report that your mind is clear and not under the influence of any medication. Avoid making statements to anyone that admit fault, and never sign or record a statement, settlement, or any other documents without first obtaining a legal consultation.
As a maritime employee, your injury can leave you unable to work for several weeks or months. The experienced Houston Jones Act lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris can get you the compensation you deserve. Call today to claim your free consultation: 713-364-0723.