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The risk of injuries and accidents in offshore environments is higher compared to Non-offshore areas. Each year, the United States suffers from over 4.5 million work-related injuries. Many of those 4.5 million are maritime workers.
The Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) governs maritime employers’ responsibilities-dock workers, seamen, and other employees who work on water-when their employees sustain a severe injury while performing their day-to-day work duties. Workers’ compensation does not cover these workers like most workers in other industries.
To determine if an offshore injury lawyer is necessary, please take a look below to determine if you need an offshore injury lawyer:
1. You were injured on the job
If you are injured at work, That is the first sign you have to get an offshore injury lawyer. Many offshore accidents require extensive medical treatment.
These are some of the most common offshore injuries:
- Slip and fall
- Diving accidents
- Maritime collisions
- Crane failures
- Hazardous equipment
- Inclement weather
You can see that all the accidents mentioned above can cause severe damage. These incidents can happen even if maritime workers are careful. Many workers sustain back, spine injuries, burns, and brain injuries due to injuries sustained offshore.
These injuries can be costly, and the medical costs to treat them could prove prohibitive. An offshore injury lawyer will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
2. Your employer is resisting you
Many offshore employers are aware of the risks associated with maritime work and will help workers in case of injury. Depending on your situation, you may not receive the necessary cooperation. It is therefore vital to find an offshore attorney for injury cases. A non-compliant employer is not something you want to deal with while healing from your injuries.
3. Better understanding of maritime laws
You may not be able to fully comprehend all maritime laws, even if you are a maritime worker. It is essential to understand your rights if you are injured in an accident. An offshore lawyer can help you understand the laws to protect your rights.
You can be sure to have an expert to help you through the process by hiring an offshore attorney.
This is particularly useful if your employer isn’t providing the support you need. Multiple maritime laws exist, including the Maintenance and Cure Law. This law states that if a seaman is hurt while on the job, they can generally receive maintenance and care benefits.
7 Things to Consider Before Hiring an Offshore Injury Lawyer
- Are the Jones Act and maritime laws well-known to the attorney?
The Jones Act claim is different than a workers’ compensation claim. A Jones Act claim requires that you prove your employer was negligent in causing your injuries. This is not the case for workers’ compensation claims. An attorney familiar with the Jones Act and how it applies in your case is essential. An attorney who is not familiar with the Jones Act, whether it be a workers’ compensation lawyer or a personal injury lawyer, may not be able to help you get the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. This includes gathering the evidence to prove that your employer contributed to the accident and laying out the amount you deserve.
- Is the attorney aware of the support that your employer owes to you under the Jones Act
Employers will often try to minimize or reduce the compensation they pay to seriously injured employees when confronted with this situation. There are many options available to them, including:
You are not paying enough of your wages for you to be able to support yourself while you heal from your injuries
To maximize your chances of a full recovery, insist that your employer provides healthcare.
You are being pressured to ignore your injuries until they become more serious.
You can claim that your injuries were caused by your negligence rather than an accident at work.
An attorney must be familiar with the tricks employers use to deny you the compensation you are due and how to counter them. You also need an attorney who can help you avoid common traps and get the compensation you deserve for workplace injuries suffered at sea.
- Your lawyer can provide support no matter where you live while you seek compensation.
Workers offshore who sustain serious injuries might return to their home countries while healing. You need an attorney who can represent you no matter where you live. Because they can represent clients from all over the world, offshore attorneys are usually licensed on both coasts. It is difficult to find an attorney who can work anywhere in the country. While you file your claim, confirm that your attorney can represent you no matter where you live.
- Is the attorney a past practitioner in the courthouse where the trial might be held?
Your attorney may be licensed to practice law in one state, but he might not know the exact courthouse where your case will be heard. It would help if you worked with an attorney familiar with the court where your lawsuit will be heard. When choosing the right attorney to represent you in your maritime accident case, ensure that they have experience in the area where you will be heard.
- What communication style is preferred by the attorney?
When settling a Jones Act case, communication is crucial. It is important to have an attorney who communicates with you frequently to keep you informed about all details of your case. How did you get in touch? What is the preferred way for an attorney to communicate? These questions are important to ask before you sign any contract with an attorney.
- How does the current caseload of an attorney look?
Law firms often work on multiple cases simultaneously. You want to make sure that you choose a law office that can handle your claim. Your attorney should give your claim the attention it deserves. Ask your lawyer about the firm’s current caseload and whether he has enough time in his schedule for you to take care of your claim.
It is also essential to find out who will be handling your claim. You may also want to know who will do the work.
- How much will your claim cost?
Many personal injury lawyers, such as Jones Act lawyers, will accept cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that you will not pay upfront for legal services but instead pay a percentage of the settlement or court award. Be sure to understand all fees and expenses before you hire an attorney. You don’t always need the cheapest lawyer. However, you want to ensure that you make sound financial decisions when choosing an attorney.
Get help from an offshore injury lawyer
Being injured on the job can be very serious. As a maritime worker, this right is yours. An offshore injury lawyer can help you if your employer is resistant to your case. A skilled attorney will fight for you to obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
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