If you are an individual who makes a living working on or near the water, you probably know co-workers who have been injured and filed Jones Act claims. While you may have a basic understanding of what the Jones Act is, our law firm has found that when a maritime accident takes places, workers have many questions about their rights and protections under the Jones Act. We have taken the time to answer some of the most frequently asked Jones Act questions, check out the questions and answers below:
If I am injured on the job, how am I going to live without a steady paycheck?
When a worker is involved in a serious maritime accident, one of the first things the worker will ask our firm is: “How am I going to live without a paycheck?” Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman is entitled to receive maintenance and cure payments from his or her employer. Your employer is legally required to make these payments to you regardless of who is at fault for your injuries.
What is Maintenance and Cure?
Maintenance and cure payments are benefits that your employer is required to pay you if you are a seaman who is injured in the course or scope of your employment. “Maintenance” payments are meant to cover your reasonable living expenses while you are recovering from your work injury or illness. “Cure” payments are compensation for the reasonable medical care you will need to treat your injuries. It is important to know that you will only receive these benefits until you reach “maximum medical cure” – the point at which your doctor determines that you will no longer improve even if you continue to receive additional medical care.
Where is the best place to file my case?
This question does not come with a simple answer. The best place to file your claim will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of your accident and where your company is based. When you are injured, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney who is very familiar with both Jones Act claims and lawsuits filed under general maritime laws. Your attorney will carefully review your case to figure out the best place for filing.
Should I continue to speak with my employer about my case?
When you have been involved in a workplace accident, you should try to talk as little as possible about your case to anyone. While it is fine to maintain a friendly and amicable relationship with your employer and co-workers, you should avoid discussing the details of your accident or injuries. If your employer is bullying or pressuring you to talk or provide information, you should speak with your attorney immediately.
Should I give a recorded statement to an investigator representing the company?
Absolutely not. If your employer or an investigator asks you to provide any type of sworn or recorded statement you should never do so until after you have talked with your attorney. You should refuse the request and tell your employer that you need to speak with your lawyer first. Remember, these statements can be easily twisted and used against you in the future.