If you’re a seaman who has been injured while working on a vessel, then you may have suffered extensive harm. The physical limitations imposed upon you by your injuries can be overwhelming, and your pain and suffering might be challenging to cope with day in and day out. Making matters worse is the fact that you’re probably being hit with a barrage of medical bills from treating your injuries, which can quickly consume your savings and leave you on precarious financial footing, especially if you’re now unable to work and earn a wage. As scary as this situation can be, you should take some comfort knowing that you might be able to recover compensation and maintenance and cure for your losses by filing a Jones Act claim.
Beware of inadequate settlement offers
Negligent parties in these cases often know that there’s a lot at stake. After all, if you’re successful on your claim, then they might be forced to pay out a lot of compensation that can affect their financial viability. A dragged out lawsuit can also damage their reputation and make future business dealings difficult. Therefore, many of these parties are often quick to try to settle these cases. While a quick resolution with a sudden influx of cash might be tempting, you have to carefully consider whether an offer is adequate enough to justify acceptance. How do you do that? Consider the following:
- What evidence supports your case? If you’ve got strong evidence to show that you qualify as a seaman and that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries, then you have an increased likelihood of succeeding at trial. You’ll also want to take into account the defense’s evidence that might put your claim at risk.
- The value of your case: You really can’t tell if a settlement offer is acceptable unless you know the extent of your damages. Once you’ve calculated your damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, then you can assess the offer in light of the strength of your case to determine if there’s enough financial incentive to take your case to trial. Don’t forget to take into consideration any expected future damages.
- Your willingness to litigate: Sure, litigation can take more time to lead to a recovery, but it can also be risky. Even if you feel like you have a really strong case, you can’t know for sure how a court or a jury will look upon the case. That’s why you’ll want to analyze how similar cases have panned out and then you can decide whether you want to deal with the stress, time, and risk of prolonged litigation. It can certainly be worth it in some cases.
An advocate who knows how to handle Jones Act claims
Jones Act claims are pretty unique, which means that you need to have a full understanding of the law if you want to maximize your chances of succeeding in your case. Fortunately, attorneys who are adept at handling these types of cases stand ready to guide your through the process and fight for your interests.