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Securing workers' compensation benefits via the Jones Act

In a recent blog post, we discussed the Jones Act and how its provisions provide compensation for seamen who are injured while aboard a sea vessel. While many individuals who work aboard barges, commercial fishing boats and cruise ships may be aware of the Jones Act, few likely know what they need to do in the wake of an injury to secure benefits via the Jones Act.

While some seamen may attempt to work through the pain of an injury or try to treat an injury on their own, as soon as an injury occurs, it's imperative to report it to an employer or sea captain. Upon reporting an injury, an individual would be wise to ensure a captain logs a formal report and also begin documenting all injury-related matters.

An individual is then advised to seek medical treatment either while aboard a vessel or as quickly as possible upon reaching shore. In either case, an individual should keep detailed records of what medical treatments, if any, he or she received while still aboard a sea vessel.

An individual must then complete an accident report detailing how an injury occurred. When filling out an official accident report, it's important to provide as many details as possible and also to report who or what an individual believes contributed to or caused the injury. Upon filing the accident report, an official claim is logged and a ship's insurance company reviews the claim.

Injured seamen who file an accident claim are advised to contact an attorney who handles maritime law. An attorney who is well-versed in Jones Act matters can answer questions, provide advice and work to help an injured worker recover compensation.

Source: Maritime Injury Guide, "Claims Process for Jones Act," 2015

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