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3 Things Not to Do if Injured on the Job at Sea


If you are a crew member or deckhand on a U.S. flagged vessel, or work for an owner or employer who is based in the United States, you have certain specific rights under federal maritime law. Under the Merchant Marine Act – or “Jones Act” as it is better known – seamen who are injured while on the job are afforded specific protections. Each case is unique, so it’s important to speak with an attorney well-versed in federal maritime law, as well as local workers’ compensation, Longshore and Harbors Workers Act and personal injury laws.

If you are an injured seaman or crew member and have a claim against your employer, call a Miami maritime lawyer who can help you understand your potential rights. Call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a completely free consultation today. But first, here are three things you should absolutely NOT do if injured at sea.

#1 – Do Not Make a Written or Verbal Statement 

Now this is different from making a report. You will need to make a written report and tell someone what happened. In fact, you must timely report the injury. Otherwise, you could lose your rights altogether. However, many times employers and their insurance companies will want you to submit to a written or verbal “statement.” This is essentially no less than a deposition, and you can bet they will attempt to use your words against you. You have a right to speak with an attorney first. So, if asked, just respectfully ask that you first have an opportunity to speak with an attorney before making any recorded or formal statements.

#2 – Do Not Hide Your Injury 

This ties closely with making sure to report the injury. Hiding your injury or concealing it in any way can jeopardize your chance of recovering compensation. Instead, take photos, get witness names and phone numbers if possible, and report your injury. As soon as possible, call an experienced maritime lawyer to discuss.

#3 – Do Not Go on Social Media 

Remember what they say about loose lips sinking ships? Well, they sink injury claims too. If you immediately begin posting images and comments on social media sites, you could expose yourself to a world of potential problems later on. No matter how secure you think your settings are, rest assured insurance companies will often obtain this information and use it to make you look bad later. Something as simple as a picture of you at dinner a month after your injury could be used to argue that your injury was not as serious as you claim.

The best practice here is to tell friends and family that you’ve suffered an injury and will be off of social media for the foreseeable future. You can return to your normal internet activities when the case is over. Your lawyer can discuss work-arounds and ways to stay connected without posting routinely.

Call a Lawyer Today 

If you were hurt at work, the sooner you get a lawyer involved, the sooner you can begin receiving compensation. Many Jones Act cases involve the potential for maintenance and cure. This invaluable benefit provides money to not only help you recover, but also compensates for lost income while you are healing from injuries. Call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. in Florida to speak to a maritime injury lawyer today.

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It's Your Time To Win

Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998