JUNE 15, 2011 by Ogletree Abbott
It can be very distressing to suffer an injury in the maritime industry. Many times, your vessel is many miles away from shore. It is essential that all vessels employ medical personnel to assess every injury and determine the best course of action. Depending on the severity of the injury, medical personnel may have you airlifted off the vessel or simply assigned light duty. Either way, when you are involved in a Jones Act accident aboard a vessel, you need your own attorney. Even though your employer might try to convince you otherwise, keep in mind that you have the right to separate counsel. Having your own Jones Act attorney to handle your claim will help ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation for your injuries.
A recent Jones Act claim involved a deckhand that suffered a severe shoulder injury. Ultimately, arthroscopic surgery was required to repair the injured shoulder. After the injury, the deckhand consulted with an experienced Jones Act attorney. The Jones Act accident resulted in a claim being filed against his employer. Shortly after the claim was filed, the deckhand was fired. His Jones Act attorney was able to prove that the dismissal was done as a form of retaliation. Basically, the employer was upset by the Jones Act claim and fired the employee.
The courts agreed with the attorney’s findings and awarded the injured seaman $623,000. This particular case demonstrates your right to legal counsel. An employer cannot dismiss you from your job, even if you file a Jones Act accident claim. There are various laws in place to protect seamen from unlawful dismissal. If you, or someone you know, have suffered a Jones Act accident, do not be afraid to retain an attorney. You have the right to legal counsel and many other rights under the Jones Act. Consult with an experienced Jones Act attorney at the Ogletree Abbott Law Firm for advice.