The Jones Act serves to compensate seamen who are injured in the course of their employment. Accordingly, instead of seeking benefits through Workers’ Compensation, injured maritime workers may recover monetary damages through the Jones Act. The act covers workers on ships and workers on oil rigs that are out at sea.
To file a Jones Act claim in Florida, you must first file an official accident report through your employer. Next, you should seek prompt medical treatment for your injuries. Official documentation of your injuries is required to recover compensation through the Jones Act. Finally, you should contact an attorney for help building your case and bringing your claim to court.
If you were injured at sea and wish to file a Jones Act claim in Florida, get help pursuing the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our experienced Florida maritime accident and injury attorneys by calling Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369 for a free review of your case.
Steps for Filing a Jones Act Claim in Florida
Filing a Jones Act claim in Florida can be difficult without a lawyer’s help. Our Florida maritime accident and injury attorneys can offer guidance and support to injured seaman through each step of the process:
Report Your Injury
After suffering an injury at sea, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Waiting to report your injury to your employer could inhibit your ability to file a successful Jones Act claim.
You should report your injury to your supervisor or manager. The person filling out your accident report should include as much detail as possible regarding the circumstances of your accident. It may also be beneficial to record your own personal recollection of your accident while your memory is fresh.
After completing your accident report, your supervisor should then send the report to your Human Resources department. Furthermore, your ship’s captain should make note of the accident in his log. Finally, the accident report will be forwarded to your employer’s insurer.
Seek Medical Treatment
The second step to filing a successful Jones Act claim in Florida involves seeking prompt medical treatment for your injuries. If possible, you should seek medical treatment from the infirmary on your ship or oil rig. After returning to land, our Ft. Lauderdale maritime accident and injury attorneys can help find the right doctors for you.
Waiting to let injuries heal on your own could limit the amount of compensation available through your Jones Act claim. For your claim to prevail, official documentation of your injuries is required. Fortunately, our team can help acquire and preserve copies of your medical records when building your claim.
Speak with Our Florida Maritime Accident and Injury Attorneys
Finally, after reporting your injury and seeking medical care, you should reach out to our Florida maritime accident and injury attorneys for help bringing your Jones Act claim to court. Employers and their insurance companies often try to settle cases quickly and cheaply. In many instances, injured seamen are offered low settlement offers in the immediate aftermath of their accidents. However, it is crucial that you avoid reaching a settlement agreement without speaking with our lawyers first. Our team can review your case for free, so that you may avoid settling for less than you deserve.
Furthermore, our attorneys can help collect the evidence necessary to support your claim. In order to recover compensation through the Jones Act, you must show that your employer’s negligent actions at least partially contributed to your injury. There are many types of evidence that may be used to accomplish this task. For instance, security camera footage, witness statements, and photos from the scene of your accident may all be utilized when proving your employer is at fault. Unfortunately, parties in control of such evidence may not cooperate easily. Also, certain evidence may begin to deteriorate over time. Our team can help gather and preserve the evidence required for your claim to succeed.
Time Limit to File a Jones Act Claim in Florida
According to the Jones Act, injured seamen will have three years from the dates of their accidents to file their claims. Noncompliance with this deadline could cause workers to miss out on important compensation. Furthermore, pertinent evidence can become difficult to collect as time passes. You should contact our Jacksonville maritime accident and injury attorneys as possible after your accident, so we can begin working on your case right away.
Can You File a Jones Act Claim if You Share Fault for Your Injury?
Even if you share fault for your injury at sea, you may still recover compensation through the Jones Act. Previously, if you shared some portion of fault for your accident, you would be unable to recover damages. However, the absolute defense of contributory negligence has been abolished.
Instead, the doctrine of comparative fault will be used when awarding damages to Jones Act claimants. Under this doctrine, damages will be awarded based on each party’s percentage of fault. For example, if a seaman shares 30% of the blame for their accident while their employer is 70% responsible, then the employer will pay for 70% of damages caused by the accident while the injured seamen will account for the remaining 30%. During your free case review, our experienced Lake Kissimmee maritime accident and injury attorneys can help explain how the doctrine of comparative fault may be applied to your claim.
Common Causes of Injury for Jones Act Claimants in Florida
When employers act negligently, workers on ships and oil rigs can suffer serious injuries. The following are common examples of negligent conduct that give rise to Jones Act claims in Florida:
- Failing to have the proper number of workers to perform all of the tasks required
- Requiring seamen to work for excessive hours without rest
- Failing to tend to an unsafe condition
- Failing to provide proper medical treatment
- Failing to properly supervise a workspace
- Failing to conduct proper risk assessments
However, there are many other types of careless actions that can cause injuries to workers at sea. Our experienced Florida maritime accident and injury lawyers can help investigate the cause of your accident.
If You Need to File a Jones Act Claim in Florida, Our Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured at sea and want to file a Jones Act claim, seek assistance from our experienced Tampa Bay maritime accident and injury attorneys by calling Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369 for a free review of your case.