Were You Injured at Sea? 6 Steps to Take

If you were injured at sea, you need a maritime lawyer in Houston, TX, who understands the nuances of laws at sea. At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, we specialize in law on both land and sea and can give you customized care, peace of mind, and sound advice to help you file a personal injury lawsuit and get the compensation that you deserve. Cover all your bases with these simple steps.

Were You Injured at Sea in Houston, TX? 6 Steps to Take

1. Make an Official Report

The first thing that you need to do after an injury at sea is to make an official report. You’ll want to start documenting everything immediately, so let your immediate manager or the person in charge of your craft know what happened. The sooner you’re able to report the accident, the better. Reporting the accident puts it on paper and makes it official. It says that you recognize that you were in an accident and want it on the record.

The Jones Act, a law that regulates accidents and incidents that happen at sea, mandates that you file an official report within a week of the incident, but it’s best to do it right away, or at least within the day, whenever possible. Plus, if you need to document anything, it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible while the evidence is still fresh.

2. Visit Your Doctor

Some injuries don’t show up right away, so even if you feel fine immediately after your incident, you must visit your doctor immediately. Plus, you’ll need documentation for any medical claims and personal injury lawsuits. If you are out at sea but close to the American coast, your ship can contact the Coast Guard to help you.

If you’re in foreign waters, your employer is liable to pay for medical care with a doctor of your choosing. Having an accident at sea can be extremely overwhelming, but it’s essential to see your doctor immediately, as doing so can set you up for a successful claim. It can also help you avoid any lingering medical effects of the incident.

3. Find a Maritime Lawyer Who Understands Laws at Sea

It’s absolutely imperative that you find a good lawyer who understands how the Jones Act and Maritime Law work, especially since there’s a statute of limitations on claims. You need to file within three years, which might sound like a lot of time, but there’s plenty of red tape to wade through. Make a preliminary appointment with a good lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

While there are plenty of things that could go wrong at sea, there are some common injuries that maritime workers are particularly susceptible to. Fires, gas leaks, and inclement weather can all make things hostile on the open water and leave workers vulnerable to a host of injuries. Understanding the rules can be very tricky, and it’s easy to leave something on the table.

4. Document Everything

It’s essential to make note of everything that happens immediately after your accident. Your maritime lawyer will help you keep track of pertinent information as well. Photographs showing negligence or unsafe equipment or conditions can help prove your case and allow you to explain precisely how you were injured in visual form.

Time is Everything

Additionally, you’ll want to document your doctor’s appointments, medical assessments, and any ongoing treatment you might need due to the accident. Witness statements are also very important. The more people who can collaborate your story, the better.

Try to gather this evidence and documentation as quickly as possible, especially if your accident was the result of bad equipment or negligence. You want to get a photo of the conditions as-is to establish who is at fault. The less fault you have, the more you might be entitled to.

5. Review Your Rights

The Jones Act is a highly complicated legal document, which is why it’s not advisable to try to pursue legal action on your own. Your lawyer should be able to decipher and break down the Jones Act for you and give you a good idea of what your rights are. Every situation is different, so it’s essential to speak with a lawyer to discuss what your particular rights are given your situation, but there are a few standard elements in the Jones Act.

According to the Jones Act, you’re entitled to a safe workplace and transportation to and from your work site. You also have the right to medical help, care and the right to do your job without fear of retaliation. You can hire a lawyer who specializes in maritme law, who can help you get everything that you are entitled to. Since retaining legal counsel is part of your rights under the Jones Act, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it and get an attorney.

6. Talk to Your Lawyer About Responsibility

Under the Jones Act, you are entitled to some compensation even if the incident happened partially because of your own negligence. If the company, or your ship, was entirely responsible, you should be rewarded much more. Every case is different and maritime law is very nuanced, which is why you need a lawyer familiar with these types of laws to help you get what you deserve.

Having a realistic understanding of your responsibility, if any, is an important step in making the process as smooth as possible. These six easy steps can also help you to have the smoothest road to recovery and compensation right after your accident. It’s overwhelming and jarring to be in an incident at sea, but if you do these things, you’ll be set up for immediate success and make the rest of the process smoother.

Maritime Law Explained

Since the seas don’t belong to one specific country, there needs to be a group of laws that dictate what happens there and helps people deal with uncertainty, negligence, and accidents at sea. These laws, which fall under the Jones Act, apply to workers and companies that operate on oil rigs, cargo ships, cruise ships, and other at seas venues and locations.

Maritime Law is very nuanced, and navigating the aftermath of an accident when you’re not on your home soil can be very tricky. It’s also tough to know what to do if you get into an accident overseas and need to seek medical care while out of the country. Good lawyers can help you understand what you need to do and where the Jones Act factors in so that you can focus on taking care of yourself while ensuring all the boxes are checked off.

Filing an At-Sea Personal Injury Lawsuit in Houston, TX

If you’ve been injured at sea, talk to our top team of lawyers who specialize in maritime law immediately. We can help you understand your rights and how best to proceed to get what you’re entitled to. Let us take away the worry and walk you through every step of the way. Contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner today at 713-535-9319 for a consultation today.