If you work at sea, you know that your job comes with a higher risk of an accident or injury than many other jobs.
In the aftermath of a maritime accident, you may feel overwhelmed, confused and have many questions about your legal rights. Before exploring your legal options there are some steps you should take.
Treat your injuries right away
As with any accident, seek prompt medical attention and treat your injuries. Depending on the injury, you might need first aid while at sea and then additional medical attention once you reach land.
You may have a legal claim under laws such as the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Most of these laws have deadlines as to when you must tell your employer about the accident.
The deadlines are sometimes short, such as 7 days. You can research the deadlines, but it is best to report your injury to your employer as soon as you can.
Collect your evidence
Start gathering the evidence you need to prove that your employer was responsible for your injury. You must prove both that your employer was at fault and the damages that you are asking for.
Evidence comes in many forms, such as medical records, photographs and witness statements. Anyone who saw the accident could potentially testify on your behalf.
Save any statements or receipts from any expenses associated with your injury, as those can be used as evidence, as well.
It is important to collect evidence as quickly and thoroughly as possible since evidence may not be preserved for long on a sea vessel.
Receive advice and guidance
A maritime injury can affect the rest of your life. Your medical expenses may be quite high, and your injury could prevent you from returning to your job or ever working in the maritime industry again.
Proving your employer’s fault means proving negligence, which can be challenging. Taking these steps can increase your chance of successfully recovering compensation.