Unlike a personal injury claim that may arise from a car accident, Jones Act cases involve federal Maritime Law and provide different benefits than other kinds of workers compensation claims.
Jones Act claims and settlements can be complicated and expensive with a huge potential for a large settlement. There are some things you should know about Jones Act claims if you have suffered serious injuries in the maritime industry.
Four things that you should be aware of are
Maintenance and cure benefits go hand in hand and your employer is required to pay them. Maintenance is daily compensation for living expenses that you would receive while on duty. The rate could range from as little as $15 daily to as much as $50 daily. Cure involves all medical expenses, including surgery, hospital stays doctor visits, medical devices and prescription medication that will be required until you reach maximum medical care — the point when it is determined that your condition no longer will improve. When you reach this point, maintenance and cure benefits will cease.
You don’t want to make the mistake of thinking you can file a typical Workers’ Compensation claim for your maritime injury. States pass workers’ comp laws, and the settlements are relatively small. Jones Act settlements are generally much higher if your injury involved negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness. If you mistakenly make a claim under the wrong law, such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), your case could be jeopardized.
The third thing you should know is that there is a deadline for filing Jones Act claims, and it is generally 3 years from the date your injury occurred. Therefore, you should be prompt in contacting an attorney to ensure that you meet the qualifications to file Jones Act claims for benefits. Once the 3-year period has passed, you will likely be out of luck.
The fourth thing you should know is how you can benefit from acquiring the help of a maritime attorney. There’s a good chance that your employer will tell you that you don’t need a lawyer. This is because they know you stand to gain a lot when you have a lawyer on your side.
A lawyer can help by gathering evidence to prove negligence, handling negotiations with insurers, and ensuring that you receive maintenance and cure and all other benefits that you are entitled to.
Contact a Jones Act law firm in Louisiana for guidance if you have suffered serious, on-the-job injuries.