APRIL 7, 2011 by Bill Abbott
Even the most prestigious Jones Act law firm will have a difficult time winning a claim for a client that was dishonest. No matter what field you work in, being honest on your job application is necessary. This is especially true when working in the maritime field, a potentially dangerous and life-threatening sector. Any Jones Act law firm will tell you, if you fail to disclose prior injuries on a maritime job application, you run the risk of losing any future claims.
Take the case of Timothy Petrey, a former employee of the Atlantic Sounding Company. Petrey had a prosthetic hip, something that he failed to mention on his application. When a tow cable struck him, he suffered a dislocated hip and resulting pain and injuries. Petrey sought the services of a Jones Act law firm and filed a claim for maintenance and cure. Atlantic, of course, moved that his claim be denied. Why? They stated that the injuries were due to the prosthetic hip, a fact that was never disclosed to them as his employer.
Petrey argued that the injuries were because of the tow cable, not because of his pre-existing condition. A physician for Atlantic testified that had the condition been known, Petrey would not have been cleared for hiring. The Jones Act law firm representing Petrey tried to win his case, but their efforts were futile. The court ruled in favor of the Atlantic Sounding Company.
Had Petrey disclosed his condition, he could have sought his own medical release from another physician. Atlantic may have still hired him and then, his claim would have been successful. This is one more reason why honesty is always the best policy. Jones Act claims are complex and expensive. If a client has lied on his or her job application, the chances of a win are quite low. If you or anyone you know plans on working in the maritime field, be honest about all prior injuries. Should you be injured, there is only so much a Jones Act law firm can do for you if you lied.