Jones Act Lawyer Straight Talk: 11 Essential Tips For Seriously Injured Jones Act Seaman
Caution: You Should Read This Article First - - Even Before You Hire A Jones Act Lawyer
This article is "MUST READING" for seriously injured Jones Act Seaman. If you only read one article about the Jones Act, it should be this article. We provide essential tips to help keep you from losing your Jones Act case BEFORE you hire a Jones Act Attorney. Here, we provide simple step by step instructions to keep you from sinking your Jones Act case.
1. Report Your Injury Immediately.
Be sure to immediately report your injury to a supervisor or someone higher in the company. You should confirm that you reported the injury with an e-mail. If you send it to yourself also, you will have proof that you reported your injury.
2. Don't Get Talked Out Of Reporting Your Injury
Many times, supervisors and the like will try and pressure injured crew members to "hold-off" on reporting injury claims. Don't buy it. It is your future. The longer you wait to report your injury or illness, the more chance that it will be denied by the insurance company. If your supervisor pressures you not to report the claim, you need to document that also. Send an e-mail to the supervisor outlining that you tried to report the incident and they pressured you not to report the injury. That way, you will have proof of your injury. You can write the e-mail in a neutral matter of fact manner, without finger pointing.
3. Don't Give a Recorded Statement or a Written Statement
If you give a recorded statement or written statement, it will be used against you to deny your claim. If the adjuster tells you they can't provide medical treatment/ cure or daily maintenance benefits unless you provide a statement you should immediately contact a seasoned Jones Act Attorney.
3. Don't Sign Medical Releases or Employment Releases
Never, ever sign medical releases or employment releases from the insurance company. Once again, they are only looking for things that they can use against you.
4. Don't Trust The Insurance Adjuster
The insurance adjuster is not your friend. They may act nice to you. However, their job is to look for reasons to deny your injury claim. When you do communicate with the insurance adjuster, be polite. But keep conversations limited. Of course, you don't want to be rude. Remember, everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Whatever, you do, don't take legal advice from the insurance adjuster.
5. Document Your Wages
Document all your Seaman wages, overtime, bonuses, etc. You will need to organize all your pay stubs and W-2's. You will need these to document your wage loss claim.
6. Organize Your Medical Records
You need to keep track of all the medical providers you receive treatment from you're your injuries.
7. You Need Witnesses
Once you leave the vessel it is oftentimes difficult to reconnect with fellow crew members. If possible, immediately get their contact information: e-mail address, cell phone numbers, home addresses or even the contact information for relatives who they keep in contact with. Trying to track down witnesses is hard enough. Now factor in that three years form now they may be working on different vessels across the world. In order to prevail you need evidence. This is very important.
8. Take Photos of the Incident Site
You may have heard that a Photo Is Worth 1000 Words. A photo can sometimes mean the difference between winning and losing your Jones Act case. You must try and get photos of the injury scene. Try and take them as soon after your injury as possible. Most people have phones with cameras. Take as many photographs as possible. From as many angles as possible. If you are laid up, ask a trusted crew member to take them for you and to text or e-mail you the photos. It can make all the difference.
9. Tell the Truth. Always
You have only one case. If the Judge or jury thinks you have lied to them you will lose your case. Always tell the truth. Don't fudge or exaggerate your injuries.
10. Prior Injuries and Claims
This is the one area where injured seaman sink their case. Repeatedly. In this age of the data bases and the Internet, don't think you are going to try and sneak and old injury by the insurance company. If you do, you are playing right into their hands. Once you get caught, your case may be over. Don't go there.
11. Don't Treat with the Company Doctor
You get to choose your doctor. Don't blow it by going to the insurance company doctor for treatment. Time and again, we see the insurance company telling injured Seaman that they are, "Fine, back to work." When in reality they are seriously injured and require surgery. Once they release you back to work, it is very, very difficult to get the medical treatment you need.
This Jones Act article is not legal advice. I am simplistic in order to achieve clarity. Your Jones Act case may be different from the facts and circumstances discussed in this article. If you are a seriously injured Jones Act Seaman, you are urged to seek a seasoned Jones Act Attorney. Here, we try to help keep you from losing your case before you hire a Jones Act Lawyer.
by: William Turley