What are my rights?
You have the right to know what your rights are.
Injured persons usually don’t know what their rights are. Sometimes, employers and insurers, either accidentally or on purpose, mislead injured mariners regarding their rights. For example, some maritime employers mistakenly treat maritime injuries as state workers compensation claims without ever advising a mariner injured at sea of rights they have under Federal Law, including The Jones Act and general maritime law.
You have the right to have an attorney represent you.
Your attorney deals with your employer and insurance company adjuster on your behalf. Your attorney should be responsible for preparing your claim, negotiating to obtain the maximum benefits to which you are entitled and assisting you in finding appropriate medical treatment. In many cases, you can have a role in selecting your health care providers.
You have the right to have your case heard, in most circumstances, by a judge or jury. If you and your employer or insurer adjuster are unable to agree, in most circumstances you have a right to take your case to a judge or jury. Sometimes, matters of immediate importance, for example, wrongful denial of maintenance, unpaid wages due, failure to provide medical treatment when warranted, may be taken up on shortened notice by motion filed in court. In almost all cases in which a claim is filed in court, a trial date will be set for resolution of the claim.
You have the right not to be made a victim a second time.
Injured persons are often victimized twice – once at the time of injury; second from what happens following injury. Overzealous adjusters, employers and insurers solely interested in minimizing the loss from a claim, or even uninformed friends with good intentions, all can lead to a second "victimization" of an injured person. The best way to prevent becoming a victim a second time is to obtain immediate competent legal advice.
Retaining an attorney or legal representative is an important act that should not be based solely on advertising or solicitation, including this or any other Web page. A persons rights may vary dramatically, and this Web page explaining rights may not have direct application to your particular situation. Please see Disclaimer Page and call us for a free initial evaluation of your specific case.