Jones Act Settlements Overview

By Michael GrossmanJanuary 29, 2021Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you been injured while working offshore? If so, you want to recover fair injury compensation. It can be confusing to figure out what legal options are available for offshore injuries. After all, maritime employers don’t provide workers’ compensation insurance like land-based employers.

However, don’t let the complexities of offshore injury law discourage you. There are multiple ways for you to recover compensation, depending on the circumstances of your accident. One potentially lucrative path toward offshore injury compensation is filing a Jones Act claim.

If you were injured offshore or lost a loved one in a maritime work accident, you should consider filing a Jones Act claim.

At Grossman Law Offices, our attorneys help accident victims determine their best legal options for injury compensation. Contact us to discuss whether the Jones Act might grant you potential compensation.

Here, we provide an overview of the Jones Act, focusing on what you can achieve in a settlement. We discuss factors in successful Jones Act settlements and the process of pursuing maximum compensation. 

Who Qualifies for Jones Act Settlements?

To file a claim under the Jones Act, you must be classified as a “seaman.” This definition requires that you meet these eligibility factors:

  • You spend at least 30% of your work hours in the service of a vessel capable of moving on navigable waters, and
  • You contribute to the work of the vessel.

Most full-time employees of an offshore vessel meet these requirements. If you don’t qualify as a Jones Act seaman, our attorneys can help you determine an appropriate maritime law for your claim. There are usually several options available.

Jones Act Lawsuit Settlements: Strategies for Winning Compensation

How do you pursue maximum compensation under the Jones Act? These steps give you the best chance of receiving a fair accident settlement.

Seek Medical Treatment

Seek medical treatment immediately. Even if your injury seems minor, a prompt medical evaluation can establish your physical condition for Jones Act litigation. Demand adequate medical treatment, including a medical evacuation if you are within helicopter range of shore.

Many offshore workers have suffered harm due to untreated injuries at sea. You should request prompt and thorough medical treatment, and don’t back down until you get the help you need.

Report Your Injury 

Any time you sustain a workplace injury, report the injury to your supervisor. Make sure your captain records your injury in the ship’s log and files a Report of Marine Accident, Injury, or Death form. You must report your injury within seven days of the accident.

Contact an Attorney

Your next step should be to contact an experienced offshore injury attorney. Your employer’s insurance company is in the business of making profits, even if they do so at your expense.

That means when the insurance company offers Jones Act settlements, they often offer less than victims deserve. The insurance company thinks they can take advantage of you because you lack experience in Jones Act lawsuit settlements.

While this isn’t fair, you can even the playing field by hiring a knowledgeable attorney to negotiate for you.

File Reports and Make Statements

File an accident report required by your company once you are in the mental state to do so. If you feel dazed from shock or bleary from painkillers, you may not be able to accurately record your thoughts. Speak to an attorney if you need direction on filling out a required accident report. 

For instance, you may not know what to write in the section that asks you who was at fault. To recover under the Jones Act, you usually need to write that the company was at fault.

However, you don’t want to impact your relationship with your employer over a minor injury. An attorney can talk you through the best way to approach this statement. 

The insurance company will also request a statement from you. It’s best to consult an attorney before providing this statement, as the insurance company may try to trick you into accepting blame for the accident.

Gather Information

Gather evidence to support your claim. These types of evidence are usually helpful:

  • Medical reports and invoices;
  • Photographs of the accident scene;
  • Witness statements about the accident;
  • Pay stubs;
  • Emails and text messages from your employer;
  • Communications describing your physical or emotional condition after the accident; and
  • Names of other employees who have suffered a similar accident.

If you can’t find all this information, your lawyer will help. Most successful offshore injury firms hire skilled investigators to discover every detail that might support your claim.

Calculate Damages

Your lawyer won’t allow the insurance company to undervalue your personal injury claim because you will calculate a fair damages request based on evidence. Your Jones Act damages request can include compensation for these types of harm:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses,
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Lost wages.

Some of these damages, like financial costs, are easy to calculate based on bills and pay stubs. Damages that are emotional in nature may be harder to calculate, but an experienced attorney knows a reasonable amount to seek.

Jones Act settlement amounts

While it’s difficult to predict Jones Act settlement amounts, our attorneys can give you a realistic estimate after we evaluate your claim. In general, you are likely to receive a higher settlement when you sustain serious injuries due to the company’s negligence.

When your employer is mostly responsible for your accident and you gather lots of evidence to prove their fault, your chance for a significant settlement increases.

Having a skilled negotiator on your side helps persuade the insurance company that you mean business and won’t accept an unfair offer.

Contact an Offshore Attorney for Your Jones Act Claim

Due to the time limits of Jones Act claims, it’s important to contact an attorney soon after your accident. An attorney can guide you in how to respond to your employer and the insurance company. Your lawyer will also suggest steps you should take to pursue maximum compensation.

If you’re worried that you don’t have the money to afford an excellent attorney, you should know that many reputable maritime lawyers work on contingency.

This means that you don’t owe anything until your lawyer settles your claim. Then, you pay your attorney a portion of your settlement.

To learn more about your eligibility to pursue a Jones Act claim, contact Grossman Law Offices for a free consultation. Our offshore injury attorneys will review your accident experience and let you know if you can file a claim under the Jones Act.

If you decide to hire us, we’ll put our substantial legal resources—including decades of litigation experience, skilled investigators, and expert witnesses—to work for you.

Our goal is always to win you maximum compensation by efficiently settling your case or taking it to trial. Contact us today to get started on a Jones Act claim for your offshore injuries or a loved one’s death at sea.

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