Steps To Making A Claim Through Maritime Law In Houston
By TLB Contributing Author: Frank
When you are injured on the job in most industries, you are allowed to collect workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance that an employer takes out to cover their employees if they are injured while working. It allows workers to collect for their injuries, but it prevents them from suing for any personal injuries that they suffer and for noneconomic damages. When it comes to those who work at sea, however, the rules are different.
If you are injured in Houston while working at sea, then workers’ compensation will not cover you. Maritime employees have to seek damages through the “Jones Act.” It is part of the Maritime Law, which operates differently than workers’ compensation claims. When claiming through the Jones Act, the burden to prove that you are injured is on the plaintiff. This means that making sure that you have the necessary documentation is critical to receiving fair compensation.
The first step if you are injured while working on a sea vessel – either in water or docked – is to report your injuries to your employer, senior officer, or the captain. Due to federal regulations, you only have seven days to report your injury to the proper official. After that period a claim cannot be made, so make sure to report it immediately.
Once you have reported the injury, it is crucial that you seek medical assistance from an emergency medical professional or the ship’s medical officer. Even if you don’t think an injury is very serious, having it evaluated will ensure that if the condition gets worse, you have the proper documentation necessary to make a claim.
You will want to note and document any treatments or procedures you receive while on board, and if you have to have further medical treatment, any other appointments or doctors you see afterward should be included. It is very important that you not return to work until you have an evaluation, or it may be possible for the ship’s senior officer to claim that the injury wasn’t serious enough for you to stop working.
Make sure that when you report your injury to your commanding officer, they record it in the ship’s logbook. You will also want the officer to file a “Report of Marine Accident, Injury or Death” form, which is a federal requirement.
The next thing you need to do is fill out the accident report form that your employer will give to you. Make sure that you are clear-headed when you fill it out. It is imperative for you to be very detailed, paying special attention to the part of the form where they ask who is at fault for your injury.
If you aren’t sure who would be at fault, it is a good idea to get a Houston lawyer versed in maritime law to help you through the complexity of filling out the paperwork. You do have to prove that the accident was due to negligence on the part of someone other than you.
From there, the accident report will go directly to your employer’s human resources department, and then they will forward the claim to the Workers’ Compensation office. The human resources department will be responsible for contacting the fleet or ship’s insurance carrier.
Once the insurance company has received the claim, they will contact you regarding the incident and question you about the events. It is important to tell the truth and not to admit any fault. Have a copy of the report that you filled out regarding the accident to refer to. Sometimes insurance carriers will try to poke holes in your story, so knowing exactly what you said in your report is crucial to having your claim processed and paid.
If you need help throughout the process of making a maritime claim for an injury you sustained, it is always a good idea to consult Houston maritime attorneys who specializes in the field. To ensure that you are compensated for your injuries, you want to make sure that you have someone on your side who has your best interests at heart.
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