Maritime employees work in amazingly dangerous conditions, so it is a relief to know that there are multiple programs under federal law that are akin to workers’ compensation. Though the qualifying criteria vary, the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) are just a few of the laws that allow injured employees to recover benefits after a maritime accident.
No matter which statute applies to your situation, you must comply with the statutory requirements and follow proper procedures to pursue a maritime accident claim. These issues are complicated, so you should rely on your Miami maritime injuries lawyer for details. Still, your rights also depend somewhat on your actions after the accident, and some tips on things to do will help guide you.
- Get Medical Care: Your first priority is getting treatment for your injuries, so head to the ER or an urgent care facility right away. Even if you believe the harm to be minimal or you do not know how badly you were hurt, it is important to see a doctor to ensure your maritime injuries are documented via your medical records. When you do seek medical care, make sure to tell your treating physician that your injuries were the result of work-related conditions.
- Notify Your Employer: In the maritime industry, the nature of the workplace environment means that your employer may be aware of your injuries. If not, you should inform the company about the incident as soon as possible. It is best to notify your employer in writing and include any medical records from the treatment you already received.
- Collect Relevant Paperwork: In addition to your medical records regarding a diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, there is other evidence that you may need to prove a maritime injuries claim. Once you have recovered and are physically able, gather and organize:
- Any photos or videos of the scene of the accident;
- Information about equipment or gear involved in the incident;
- Contact details for eyewitnesses; and,
- Photos of your injuries.
- Use Caution When Dealing with an Insurer: If contacted by an insurance company or your employer about the maritime accident, you should only confirm your contact information. Do not provide statements, and never consent to having your conversation recorded. Plus, you should decline to sign any documents, such as a release or settlement agreement. You could be giving up important rights when you do not know which statute applies, the benefits you could obtain, or other details.
Contact a Miami Maritime Injuries Attorney to Discuss Legal Remedies
Another important step after being hurt in a maritime accident is to retain experienced legal counsel for assistance with your remedies. You must meet the relevant criteria and comply with all requirements, which can be challenging if you do not have a background in law. To learn how Gerson & Schwartz, PA, can help, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. You can call (305) 371-6000 or visit our website to set up a free consultation.