Jones Act Settlements
Calculating Jones Act settlements for claims requires knowledge of the factors that form the basis for the recovery as well as knowing how to value each factor. Injured workers will often determine a number that they feel is fair with no real or legal basis for reaching the figure. This leaves room for the employer, insurance company or defense attorney to dispute the figure and ignore or deny the offer to settle. It also shows them that the person making the offer of settlement has no clue as to the value of their claim.
The company, their lawyers claims and their insurance carriers have vastly superior knowledge of Jones Act settlement values and the calculating settlement process. A layperson cannot effectively negotiate a settlement when the other side has such an advantage? When the worker realizes they are at a big disadvantage they immediately feel inferior and tend to believe the other side has all the answers. Too many workers have experienced a company induced shock and awe” approach to settlements that puts the company in an overpowering advantage and the worker at an extreme disadvantage. They use this advantage to persuade naive workers to settle for pennies on the dollar. Most workers without attorneys settle for peanuts and never know the difference.
Do not allow your company, the insurance company, their lawyers, their doctors and co-workers to use tort reform to persuade you into taking pennies on the dollar for your Jones Act settlement. The tort reform or bad trial lawyer argument is used simply to keep honest people from making a legitimate claim by causing them to feel guilty about making an injury claim. Then, the argument is used to keep honest people from retaining a lawyer to protect them from unscrupulous companies, their lawyers and their insurance carriers. You may or may not actually see or meet their lawyers but they are there, advising them behind the scenes.
Do not let them fool you with their false arguments, which allow them to benefit from their lawyers while telling you that lawyers are bad. This is just one more way that they gain an advantage against unrepresented workers for the purpose of paying less than a fair calculated Jones Act settlement. The central purpose of any business is to make a profit. They make less profit when they pay more to injured workers. It trade is never about tort reform or anything else; it trade all about the money and there need to make unconscionable profits.
A Jones Act settlement should be based on the damages and the law. The injured workers should receive what the claim is worth, what the law allows, what a jury will award or what the other side willingly agrees to pay.
How to calculate the value of a Jones Act Claim
Some of the individual factors that are included in an appropriate settlement include:
|Past wage loss||$ _________|
|Future wage loss||$ _________|
|Past fringe benefit value||$ _________|
|Future fringe benefit value||$ _________|
|Outstanding Medical expenses||$ _________|
|Future Medical for treatment||$ _________|
|Future medication costs||$ _________|
|Future lost earning capacity||$ _________|
|Lost fringe value based on lost earning capacity||$ _________|
|Expense of Retraining||$ _________|
|Value of lost household services||$ _________|
|Past pain and suffering||$ _________|
|Future pain and suffering||$ _________|
|Future Disability||$ _________|
|Loss of quality of life||$ _________|
|Future loss of quality of life||$ _________|
|Future Impairment||$ _________|
To calculate a fair settlement, add a dollar amount for each of the above categories, as applicable, and add for a total. If your company or the insurance company handling your claim is not willing to offer the amount you calculated, you should contact an experienced maritime lawyer to discuss calculating your claim.
Let Us Help You
No matter where you live, the lawyers and attorneys at the Ogletree Abbott Law Firm can help you get the help you need. If you would like, a lawyer or an attorney can contact you to answer your questions. There is no obligation and the initial phone call is always free of charge. Call toll free 1-800-Jones Act (1-800-566-3722). You may send us an email.