A lot of times our clients will ask us, “If I had a previous injury, can I still file suit under the Jones Act if I reinjured my back at work?” The answer to the question is yes.
Under the Jones Act, there are two different components at play. One of them is the right to maintenance and cure; if you forgot about listing your previous injury on your employment application, that very well could affect your right to maintenance and cure benefits.
A lot of times companies will outright deny maintenance and cure benefits if an employee has had a previous back, neck, or knee injury and they reinjure that same part of the body while working. Sometimes those companies are correct in doing that; it just depends on your situation.
However, and, this is very critical, there’s a different component of the Jones Act: the negligence. Regardless of whether you suffered a previous injury and you’ve now reinjured it, the Jones Act is still applicable if your company was at fault or negligent. If they did something wrong or if they could have done something different to prevent your accident, your company was negligent and you can still recover damages for worsening that previous injury.
Just because you hurt the same part of your body previously does not mean that you’re unable to collect and file a claim under the Jones Act. Your company very often will flat out deny those types of claims. They will argue that you lied to them and that you weren’t honest about a small injury you may have had years ago. That does not prevent you from filing a potentially good Jones Act case if your company did something wrong that caused or contributed to your accident. Call us if you have any questions and we can discuss your situation with you.
More articles on filing Jones Act cases: