Compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses is different for those who work at sea. It’s important to be aware of deadlines that can impact your claim.
The Jones Act governs work-related accidents and occupational illnesses. This means your claim will take a different route than a typical workers’ compensation claim.
If you are physically hurt while working on an off-shore drilling rig, a fishing boat, or other maritime vessels, it’s likely that your claims process will get underway almost immediately. Your employer should have documentation and paperwork readily available, so you can start getting the benefits you need.
The situation is different when there isn’t one underlying event that resulted in harm. For example, back injuries and repetitive stress injuries may develop over time. Exposure to harmful chemicals may not result in the diagnosis of a disease until years later. In these cases, you have one year to file a claim.
There are some exceptions to the one year rule. You may be able to extend the deadline to two years if you’re able to show specific material facts that impacted your compensation filing. For example, mental incapacity or awaiting a proper diagnosis may be enough for an extension. It’s helpful to strengthen your case with medical documentation and testimony if you’re seeking an extension.
As you can see, injury claims for maritime workers can be complex. It’s best to work with a skilled legal professional who understands the nuances of maritime law. Doing so can help put you in the best position to recover the benefits you need and deserve.