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Maritime Accident FAQs

Posted in Get To Know Maritime Law on October 1, 2018

Being a maritime or offshore worker is not easy. The job comes with many challenges, tough working conditions, and exposure to dangerous situations. On top of that, maritime law can make it challenging for individuals who have been injured on the job.

The Houston maritime attorneys at Lapeze & Johns care for your well-being and understand the nuances of maritime law. That is why we would like to provide you with some answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions we hear regarding maritime accidents and lawsuits.

  1. 1. I have been injured in a maritime accident. What do I do now?
  2. You and your family will need to explore your legal options as soon as possible. Large companies are likely to have lawyers and investigators on standby, even if this is the first work-related accident you have been in.

    It is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer who will help you to better understand the situation and plan for any possible issues ahead. Your employer may attempt to get a statement from you and frame the accident in a manner that makes you responsible. An experienced maritime lawyer is needed to make sure this doesn’t happen and you are treated fairly.

    You may also be assigned a case manager by your employer. Be careful. Whatever you say to this company representative can be used against you.

  3. 2. What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
  4. Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is a term which means that even if you are still suffering from your injury, a doctor has come to the conclusion that you won’t get any better through treatment – you have reached “maximum medical improvement.”

    This classification is often used as a loophole and allows insurance companies and your employer to cut your benefits even if you are still in need of treatment. This often occurs when the injured party is examined by a doctor recommended by the employer.

  5. 3. Do employers have to take an injured crew member ashore for treatment?
  6. You have the right to demand to be treated immediately by a doctor of your choice if you have been injured.

  7. 4. Will I get blacklisted if I file a claim?
  8. Employers cannot legally deny employment to someone for filing a legitimate maritime accident claim.

  9. 5. What are my rights as an injured offshore employee?
  10. You have the right to obtain medical treatment from a doctor of your choice; you have the right to a lawyer; you have a right to seek out guidance before making a statement to your employer.

    This last one is very important as your employer is likely to begin gathering evidence immediately after the accident in order to frame the incident in a way that does not make them liable. Your employer may have their own representative or insurance adjuster contact you. These individuals will ask you questions regarding the accident but you don’t have to answer them. Everything you say can be used against you.

    That’s where your right to a lawyer comes in. An expert attorney in maritime law, like the ones at Lapeze and Johns, can help you to develop a statement or even speak on your behalf.

  11. 6. Will getting a lawyer get me in trouble with my employer?
  12. It should not. Your employer does not have to know that you are talking with a lawyer and you are protected by lawyer-client privilege.

    If you are being told not to talk to a lawyer, then you probably should, as this could mean your employer is not going to willingly accept responsibility for the accident.

  13. 7. How much does it cost to talk to an attorney?
  14. At Lapeze & Johns, you do not have to worry about paying unless we win.

    We are dedicated to providing quality legal guidance to underserved individuals who might not have the ability to otherwise file a claim. We understand that being injured while on the job can have substantial consequences for you and your family, not the least being financial issues. We don’t want to add to that stress by charging you substantial fees. We only charge when we win.

    Contact us today for a free case review.

  15. 8. How do I know if I am covered by the Jones Act?
  16. If you are a worker who has been working on a vessel in navigable waters, and are contributing to the vessel’s function, you are most likely a Jones Act seaman.

    However, it can be more complicated than that to verify your status. It may be necessary to take a three-point status test in order to be sure. If you can prove you are, you have the right to file a claim if your injury is tied to the negligence of the vessel’s owner.

    Talk to you lawyer to learn what options are available to you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime accident while at work, contact Lapeze & Johns today at 713-739-1010 for your free case review.