The Jones Act, established in 1920, exists to protect maritime workers who were injured on the job. Under this law, seamen are entitled to compensation for their injuries so long as they meet four criteria: the injured person is a seaman, the injury was sustained while working, the employer was negligent, and that negligence caused (at least partially) the injury. Once your Jones Act lawyer has established that your case qualifies under the Jones Act, there a few tips that you can do to help strengthen your case.
Report your injury immediately
It is best to report your injury as quickly as possible. Report your injury directly to your supervisor. Because verbal reports can easily be forgotten or misconstrued, it is also smart to document the report in writing; even a simple email will serve as documentation of the date and time of the report. Be wary of a supervisor that pressures you to delay your report; you are well within your rights to report your injury immediately.
Be prudent with the insurance adjuster
When speaking with the insurance adjuster, remember that prudence is key. Anything you say can be used against you in court; the insurance company will try to use your words against you to deny your claim. Always be courteous.
Organize medical records
When you receive medical treatment for your injury, be meticulous in the organization of your medical paperwork. The more organized your paperwork is, the easier it will be for you to report your expenses.
Organize your income documentation
Similar to organizing your medical records, a well-organized documentation of your income will make it easier to report your loss of income due to injury.
Immediately, record all witness names and contact information. A witness is a valuable asset to any Jones Act case, but due to the global travel aspect of a seaman’s job, it may be very difficult to obtain witness contact information at a later date. Doing it immediately will prevent that stress later on during the trial.
Document the accident with photos
Photographs are an excellent way to bolster a Jones Act case. Take multiple photographs from several angles. For instance, if you fell on unsafe stairs, photograph the stairwell from the top as well as the bottom of the staircase.
Always be honest
No matter how you think you case will turn out, never stray from the truth. Telling a big lie or even exaggerating the extent of your injury can cause the jury to doubt you. In addition, do not try to “piggy back” an old injury by tacking it onto a Jones Act case.
Remember to consult with your attorney should you ever have any questions regarding your case.