Must an Injured Seaman file an accident report or give a recorded statement?

by: Jay A Kaplan

The filing of a Jones Act claim does not require an accident report or a recorded statement.

Although management or their claims representatives may suggest to you to the contrary, the Jones Act does not require an injured Maritime Employee to give a statement in order to file a claim or seek compensation. Many times the company will immediately attempt to persuade their employees to give a recorded statement concerning the accident. In fact, in many instances this occurs at a time when the injured employee is not thinking clearly because he or she is in pain, under the influence of medications or in fact in shock and therefore his or her ability to give an accurate account of what happened to him or her is greatly impeded. Additionally many of the questions that the employee is being asked or not asked by the Company have been conveyed to management by their attorneys so that they are able to obtain a tactical advantage. Consequently under these circumstances it is best to inform the Company that because of the nature and extent of your injuries you are either physically or mentally incapable of giving a proper statement at the time.

Similar to recorded statements, the Jones Act does not specifically require an injured worker to fill out an accident report. Having said that, it is still important to log any accident you might unfortunately experience. After logging the accident, it may under certain circumstances be beneficial to file an accident report after consulting with an experienced attorney who has significant experience in the handling of Maritime Cases.

Lastly, to properly safeguard your rights if you suffer a work injury on navigable waters, certain guidelines should be followed.

  1. Log or otherwise report your injury immediately.
  2. Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses.
  3. Do not give any verbal or recorded statements.
  4. Do not sign any documents or releases without first discussing it with a qualified Maritime Attorney.

To learn more about your rights as an injured seaman, please contact Jay A. Kaplan at Kaplan Law Corporation at (800) 5 KALPLAN


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