The insurance companies role in Charleston maritime injury cases are very similar to insurance companies in any type of injury and accident case. They represent the insurer to the employer and they have an interest that is adverse and contrary to the interest of the injured worker. Therefore, they are going to try to do everything in their power to minimize the damages and pay the least they have to pay out on those claims.
To combat the insurance companies, an individual should not hesitate before contacting a Charleston admiralty and maritime injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can gather the elements of the claim and produce a defense to help maximize any potential damages.
Role of the Insurance Company
It is the role of the insurance company in a Charleston maritime injury case to have money available to compensate the injured worker for their damages and injuries.
However, they have an adverse interest in doing that, which is why the injured individual should seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Specifically, an individual should hire a full-time maritime lawyer to help make the proper recovery in the case.
Steps Taken by Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters in Charleston maritime injury cases want to try many times to do a reported statement of the injured worker, which the attorney will try to counsel against. This is because they do not want the injured worker to have previous statements, especially one where they are not represented by counsel, where the adjuster may ask questions to try to lead the injured worker into saying something on the record or creating facts that would lead to a denial of their case.
The other role that insurance adjusters play in Charlseton maritime injury cases is in setting up the maintenance and cure how much is going to be paid per day or per week to the injured worker to keep them afloat while they are recovering from their injuries. Many time, they will try to steer the injured worker into a so-called company doctor, or an insured doctor that they chose, but the employee does not have to follow that.
The injured worker is allowed to pick their own doctor. An experienced attorney will recommend that the individual do pick their own doctor so they have a comfortable relationship with that doctor and are able to receive fair and adequate medical care and treatment.
Specific Elements of a Maritime Injury Claim
Maritime injury claims are specifically for seamen. Those that are not considered seamen can make claims under the general maritime law and not just the Jones Act.
What is similar between a maritime injury claim and a standard personal injury claim is that anybody can be injured, and when they are injured, they are entitled to make a claim for their damages. There are just different laws that apply depending on whether the person is a seaman assigned to a vessel, some type of barge, or something that would put them into the category of being a seaman.
Lots of people working jobs where they may not consider themselves to be a seaman could be considered under that term. There is a lot of case law that explains when someone meets that category. If they meet that category, that would be put under the Jones Act. If they do not, they would fall under general maritime law, where they could bring a negligence case to make recovery for similar damages. Under the general maritime law, the individual would not be entitled to maintenance and cure and some other damages that may be allowed under the Jones Act.
Types of Injuries
The types of injuries that an individual may suffer are fairly similar in any type of maritime injury case, and include injuries to various body parts from head to toe, such as neck or back injuries, legs, arms, feet, eyes, and internal organs. The laws that govern the two acts are similar but have differences. For example, under the Jones Act again, the injured worker would be looking for maintenance and cure.
In addition to a possible unseaworthiness claim against the vessel and a Jones Act claim that would allow the person to pursue past and future wages lost, there are past and future medical bills and other general damages that can be claimed. These include loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and loss of consortium. That means that the injured worker cannot do home services any longer or is limited and their spouse has to step in and do them. There is potential for the spouse to be compensated for those types of damages with what they have to pick up and do in terms of time, effort, and money.
In terms of filing the claim, depending on what category the person is in when they are injured, it would dictate whether the claim will be filed under the law of Jones Act, general maritime law, or under a simple negligence theory. All of them lead to the same place, which is trying to compensate the person that has been injured in the accident for either money or general damages that they have sustained as a result of the accident.