If you are working as a seaman, you know that you are at higher risk for accidents than some other types of workers. An accident that results in injuries, particularly if they are serious injuries, can turn your world upside down quickly. While being stressed over their injuries, it is not uncommon for people to inadvertently say or do something that could hurt their legal claim. These actions, or sometimes inaction, can impact your right to receive maximum compensation for any damages or losses that were the result of your injuries. So, if you have been injured in a maritime accident, it is important for you to keep the following tips in mind:
- Do report your injuries to your supervisor – Even if you do not think that your injury is severe at the time, some injuries do not rear their ugly heads until a few days or weeks after the accident occurs. Be sure that you make an entry in the logbook of the vessel or have your supervisor complete an accident report. Ask for a copy of any documents you sign.
- Do see your doctor as soon as possible – Even though your injuries do not seem like something that may be treated, be sure to talk to your primary doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Explain to them how your accident occurred. This can help your doctor diagnose your condition and create a plan for your care. It will also provide the much needed documentation for your injury claim. Under the doctrine of Maintenance and Cure, your employee must pay for your medical expenses that are incurred by the doctor of your choosing.
- Do consult with a lawyer before accepting a settlement – Insurance companies may seem like your friend and it may seem like they are trying to give you honest and fair compensation for your injuries. In reality, it is their job to watch out for the bottom line. This means they are likely to make you a low-ball offer that can leave you stuck with your own expenses down the road. Be sure to talk to an attorney before accepting any offer. They will ensure that the insurance company is not taking advantage of you.
- Do file an accident claim as quickly as possible – Filing a legal claim for a maritime injury has specific time limits and delaying your claim can weaken your claim in certain situations. Some documents, evidence, and statements are time sensitive and losing them can impact what legal options are available to you. Contact an attorney as quickly as possible after your accident to get the claim started.
- Do NOT provide a statement to the insurance or your employer – Even if you think you have a good relationship with your employer or crew members, they may not be on your side like you think they are. Your words can be used against you by your employer or the insurance company to keep you from getting the compensation to which you are entitled.
- Do NOT return to work until you are fully recovered, both mentally and physically – Your employer may pressure you to hurry back to work, but do not do this until your physician has released you. Not only can going back to work too soon aggravate your condition, but it could damage your legal claim, as well.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, contact the attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm today to schedule a consultation. We will advise you of your rights and help you get the compensation you need.