What Do You Need to Know Before Filing a Jones Act Claim?

Jones Act Oct 17, 2023

If you work on the water and have been injured on the job, you may have a claim under the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides injured seamen with the right to financial compensation for job-related injuries in most cases. If you have a claim, what do you need to know before you file? Find out from an experienced Texas Jones Act lawyer.

10 Important Facts to Know Before You File a Jones Act Claim in Texas

Here are 10 important facts to know before you file a Jones Act claim in Texas:

1. You Must Qualify as a “Seaman” to File a Claim Under the Jones Act

Not everyone who works on the water is eligible to file a claim under the Jones Act when they get injured on the job. To be eligible, you must qualify as a “seaman.” If you don’t qualify as a seaman, you aren’t eligible for compensation under the Jones Act—and you may need to file a different type of claim to recover the financial compensation you deserve.

2. Your Employer May Dispute Your Claim for “No Fault” Maintenance and Cure Benefits

Even if you clearly qualify as a seaman (as most maritime workers do), your employer may still dispute your claim for maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act. This is true even though these are “no-fault” benefits, which means that your employer is supposed to pay even if it isn’t responsible for causing your injury. With this in mind, you need to be prepared to prove your right to just compensation.

3. It Is Important to Have Evidence of the Cause of Your On-the-Job Injury

Proving your right to just compensation requires evidence of the cause, location and timing of your on-the-job injury. The best way to collect this evidence is to hire a Texas Jones Act lawyer as soon after your injury as possible. If you have this evidence, not only will you be able to prove that you are entitled to maintenance and cure, but you may be able to prove that you are entitled to additional financial compensation as well.

4. Your Employer Should Cover All of the Costs of Your Treating Your Injury

If you are entitled to maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, your employer should cover all of the costs of treating your injury. This means that you are entitled to coverage until either (i) you are fully better or (ii) you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) and further recovery is not possible. Unfortunately, many employers (and their insurance companies) try to terminate injured workers’ benefits prematurely. When you hire a Texas Jones Act lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can help make sure this doesn’t happen.

5. Maintenance and Cure Only Cover a Portion of Your Lost Wages

While maintenance and cure benefits cover (or should cover) all of your medical expenses, they only cover a portion of your lost wages when you are unable to work due to an on-the-job injury. As a result, not only do you need to make sure you receive the full benefits you deserve, but you also need to make sure you seek any other forms of financial compensation that may be available to you. This includes other forms of compensation available under the Jones Act and other laws.

6. You Only Have Seven Days to Report Your Injury Under the Jones Act

When you have a claim under the Jones Act, you only have seven days to report your injury to your employer. Since you need to be careful when reporting your injury, it is best if you speak with a Texas Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible.

7. Filing for Maintenance and Cure May Not Be Your Only Option

While filing for maintenance and cure is important, it is also important to understand that filing for maintenance and cure may not be your only option. As we mentioned above, maintenance and cure do not cover all of the costs of a maritime injury. Filing a claim for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness can increase your financial recovery significantly—and this can help ensure that the long-term consequences of your injury are no greater than necessary.

8. You Need to Make Informed Decisions About Your Jones Act Claim(s)

When it comes to protecting your legal rights after a maritime injury, informed decision-making is critical. You need to make sure you do everything necessary to protect your legal rights, and you need to make sure you do not settle for less than you deserve. Mistakes can be costly—and once you make them, you may not be able to go back and try again.

9. You Can Hire a Texas Jones Act Lawyer to Help You

Due to all of the challenges involved in protecting your legal rights after a maritime injury, it is best to hire an experienced Texas Jones Act lawyer to help you. Your lawyer can gather all of the evidence you need, file all of the claims you have available, and explain all of the mistakes you need to avoid in order to recover the maximum compensation available to you under the Jones Act.

10. Hiring a Texas Jones Act Lawyer Costs Nothing Out of Pocket

Hiring a lawyer to protect your legal rights under the Jones Act costs nothing out of pocket. Our firm handles all Jones Act cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only collect a fee if we help you successfully claim the financial compensation to which you are legally entitled.

Do You Have a Jones Act Claim? Contact Us for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation

 If you need to know more about filing a Jones Act claim for a maritime injury, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, call 800-468-4878 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
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Houston, Texas 77056

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Houston, Texas 77029

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