JANUARY 27, 2011 by Bill Abbott
The first step in filing a Jones Act claim is reporting your injury to your employer or supervisor. Your injury report may be used later by a Jones Act attorney to defend your claim in court. Some maritime employers and supervisors may attempt to prevent you from filing an official written incident report. If this occurs, you should contact a reputable Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your right to compensation is protected. A Jones Act attorney will act as your legal representative throughout the reporting and claim filing process to make sure that your employer complies with the law.
Under the Jones Act, maritime employers are required to compensate employees who are injured while working at sea. The Jones Act is intended to work in a similar manner to the Workers’ Compensation laws that protect employees who work on land. Unfortunately, there is no central administrative government agency at the state level that handles maritime injury claims. This leaves many employees at a disadvantage since they must attempt to understand and enforce the complex provisions of the Jones Act law on their own.
If your employer refuses to pay for a Jones Act claim after you file your initial injury report, you will need to file a formal claim in court. This is where a Jones Act lawyer can be very useful and beneficial to your case. A Jones Act attorney will explain whether or not you may qualify to receive compensation benefits for your injury. In many cases, a seasoned Jones Act lawyer will find that an employee’s injury may be compensated under the law.
An experienced Jones Act attorney will guide you through the claim filing process which entails gathering evidence, reports, statements and medical evaluations, as well as, creating a written complaint document. This document is filed with a court that has jurisdiction or the ability to hear your case. Failing to follow legal procedures at this stage of the filing process could be detrimental to your claim. Obtaining the assistance of a knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer will give you peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled correctly.