If you suffered a workplace maritime injury, you do not have to see the company doctor for a Jones Act claim. You may need to consult the company doctor if your accident happens at sea and they are your only immediate treatment option. However, as soon as you are able, you can and should consult a physician of your choosing.
Your employer has no right to mandate or pressure you into seeing the company doctor. Likewise, they should not try to prevent you from seeking treatment from a provider you select. If you have not already visited a doctor not connected to the company, do so immediately. It is important to seek treatment right away and follow your prescribed treatment plan.
Recovering Compensation with a Jones Act Claim
Seamen, unlike most land workers, are not covered by workers’ compensation. Instead, the Jones Act allows them to take legal action. According to 46 U.S.C. §30104, seamen injured on the job have the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employer. Family members of workers who suffer fatal injuries can file suit on behalf of their deceased loved ones.
Offshore work presents some unique hazards. Employees may work on wet and slippery surfaces, operate heavy machinery, perform heavy lifting, and come into contact with toxic substances. There is also a risk of being struck by cargo or injured by machinery.
You could be entitled to compensation if a workplace accident resulted in:
- An occupational illness or disease
- Head injuries
- Loss of a digit or limb
- Loss of mobility
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Back, neck, or spinal injuries
- Another severe or permanent injury or disability
Damages You Can Pursue
A Jones Act claim may allow you to recover compensation for your past and future medical care. This includes doctor visits, diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, medical equipment, medication, and physical therapy. You do not have to see the company doctor in order to seek compensation for your medical treatment in a Jones Act claim.
You are free to see your choice of health care provider.
You can seek compensation for your lost wages in a Jones Act claim. You may win wage compensation for the period during which your injuries and recovery prevent you from working. If your accident resulted in a permanent disability and you are unable to return to your previous type of employment, you can also pursue compensation for your loss of future earnings.
Pain and Suffering
Your case may include awards for pain and suffering. This is compensation for the physical, mental, and emotional toll of your accident and injuries.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you are suing for your loved one’s wrongful death, you may receive compensation for their final medical care and funeral and burial costs. You may also be eligible for awards for your loss of companionship.
Filing a Jones Act Claim
Your first step in seeking compensation may be filing a Jones Act claim with your employer’s Jones Act insurance provider. You will need to supply your insurer with proof of your injuries and damages. You will also need to show that your injuries were the result of your employer’s negligence.
It is your employer’s legal responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe work environment. This includes maintaining tools and machinery, providing safety equipment, and making sure crew members receive proper training.
A maritime injuries lawyer with our firm can help you file your Jones Act claim and build your case. We may be able to use evidence, such as eyewitness statements, accident reports, and expert testimony, to prove your accident was not your fault. We can also represent you and your best interests during the negotiation process.
The Statute of Limitations for Suing Under the Jones Act
If your employer refuses to pay for medical treatment for your injuries, or if you cannot agree on a settlement, you can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. According to 46 U.S.C. §30106, you have three years from the time of your accident to take legal action. If you are seeking damages on behalf of your loved one, you have three years from their time of death.
An Attorney at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Can Help You Fight for Compensation
Jones Act claims may seem complex, but Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help. Our attorneys are familiar with maritime law and have helped clients win settlements and verdicts for their maritime injuries.
Do not let your employer intimidate you into accepting less compensation than you may deserve. You have the right to see your own doctor, and you have the right to hire an attorney to help with your case. To learn more, call our team at (337) 777-7777 for a free consultation.