Accident and Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Many accident victims are overwhelmed by their injuries, and the thought of a legal case can seem daunting. At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our legal team understands these feelings, and we’ve compiled our thoughts on many common worries here to help you get started finding the answers you need to protect yourself and your family. If you’ve been hurt in a construction, maritime, or railroad accident, browse our FAQs today.

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  • What to Do After a Brain Injury on an Atlantic Fishing Boat

    What should I do when I am discharged from the hospital after suffering a brain injury on my Atlantic fishing vessel?

    Today may be the day that you have been waiting for. Today may be the day that the doctors are finally going to discharge you from the hospital and let you go home. It is a day to be celebrated, but you will soon realize that your journey toward recovery is still going to require a lot of work.

    What to Do Now

    The very first thing that you should do is celebrate. Today is a good day. It is the day that you are able to return to your family and your home. You deserve to relax and enjoy yourself.

    Tomorrow, however, there will be work to be done. Tomorrow, and in the days, weeks, and months following your return home, you will need to protect your physical recovery and your financial recovery. Specifically, you can:

    • Keep getting the medical care that you need to recover to the maximum extent possible.
    • Follow your doctor’s orders—even when it is hard.
    • Talk to a lawyer about your legal options and how to protect your possible financial recovery. Do not rely on your employer to do this for you.

    These steps may not be easy to take, but with the help and support of your family, doctors, and lawyer, you may be able to recover from the brain injury you suffered on your Atlantic fishing boat.

    Want to Learn More?

    Please read a free copy of our publication, The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and Other Commercial Mariners, and please contact us directly via this website for a personal consultation.

  • Employer Put Me at Unnecessary Risk on a New York Commercial Fishing Trip. What should I do if I’m hurt?

    I think my employer put me and my crewmates at unnecessary risk on a recent New York commercial fishing trip. What should I do if I’m hurt?

    If you are hurt after a New Jersey or New York commercial fishing trip, then it is important to get the medical care and legal help that you need. An experienced New York Jones Act lawyer can help you make sure that your legal rights and potential recovery are protected.

    Your employer has a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect you and your crewmates from reasonably anticipated dangers. A commercial fishing employer who does not take those precautions may have sent you on a voyage that was unseaworthy. If you are a seaman pursuant to the Jones Act, you may have a legal claim if your employer failed to provide a seaworthy vessel for your voyage.

    In order to protect your rights, it is important to consult a New York Jones Act attorney before trying to negotiate a settlement directly with your employer or your employer’s insurer. We don’t want you to worry about how you are going to pay your bills or get the medical care that you need. Instead, we want to help you get the recovery that deserve.

    For more information, please contact a lawyer at our New York maritime law firm. We can be reached directly at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329. We also encourage you to read our FREE publication, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

  • Who Pays Medical Bills After Commercial Fishing Accident

    I was hurt working on a lobster boat. How can I get my medical bills paid quickly?

    The doctors providing your treatment are going to bill for their services. They understandably want to be paid for the medical care that they have provided you. They may be calling or writing you because you are the patient. However, if you were hurt working on a lobster boat in the North Atlantic then you might not be the one responsible for paying the bills.

    Here’s What You Can Do

    First, it is important to understand that the federal Jones Act may apply to your situation because you are a commercial lobsterman. That means, in part, that your employer is responsible for paying your medical costs, or “cure,” if you are hurt. You should forward any medical bills to your employer (while keeping copies for yourself).

    If your employer fails to pay for the medical care that you received from a qualified doctor or is unwilling to pay your medical bills up until the time that you have reached the maximum medical cure, then it is important for you to consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible.

    How a Lawyer Can Help

    Generally, a lawyer can make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the recovery you deserve. More specifically, some employers may take your claim more seriously if you have a lawyer representing you and may agree to pay your medical bills. If the employer is unwilling to pay, a lawyer can take legal action to get you the recovery you deserve.

    For more information about protecting your potential recovery, please read our free publication, The Legal Rights Of Injured Seamen, Dockbuilders, Dredgemen And Other Commercial Mariners: Ten Important Questions Answered , and please follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on important news facing injured lobster fishermen and other seamen.

  • What Should I Do Right Now if I Was Hurt in the January 9 2013 Seastreak Ferry Accident

    Your life has likely not gone exactly as you expected if you were hurt in the January 9, 2013 Seastreak Ferry accident at the Wall Street Pier in New York City. It can often be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next if you have been hurt in such a crash.

    How can you protect your future? How can you take care of your family? How will you recover? These may be just some of the questions going through your mind. You know that the actions that you take next are going to influence the answers to those questions, and you want the steps that you take to be the right ones.

    Fortunately, you do not have to guess what steps you should take during this difficult time. You and your family do not need to bear the burden of going through your recovery alone. Instead, you can contact an experienced doctor and a New York maritime injury attorney for help.

    Together, your doctor and New York maritime injury lawyer will work hard to advise you about what to do step by step. Your doctor, for example, will diagnosis your injury and come up with a treatment plan that will be carefully monitored and changed, as needed. Your New York maritime attorney will advise you of your legal rights, your options, your potential recovery, and the steps that you need to take to safeguard your potential recovery.

    For more information about what to do if you were hurt in a Maritime Accident, please call our New York maritime injury lawyers today at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329.

  • Three Reasons Safety Equipment Can Fail on a Ship

    How can I find out why the safety equipment failed on my ship?

    As a seaman, you have the right to work on a reasonably safe vessel, and your maritime employer has a responsibly to keep the ship in a reasonably safe condition. That includes having properly maintained safety equipment on board the vessel every time you are out on New York Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

    If the safety equipment on your vessel failed and you were injured then you may have the right to recover damages pursuant to the Jones Act or another federal maritime law. Damages for your injuries may include compensation for maintenance and cure. In other words, you may be entitled to your living expenses while you are unable to work out on the Atlantic Ocean, and you may be able to have your medical expenses paid up until the time that you reach the maximum medical improvement or cure.

    But Why Did the Equipment Fail?

    As part of the investigation into your maritime accident, you and your lawyer may look at why the safety vest, life raft, or other piece of safety equipment failed. For example, you might consider whether:

    • The equipment was appropriately inspected and maintained.
    • There was a defect in the manufacturing of the equipment.
    • You and other crewmembers received appropriate training about how to use the equipment.

    You deserve to have the answers you need after a maritime injury. To learn more about how to get those answers, please read our FREE report, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights , and please contact us via this website.

  • Will I Work Again if I am Injured and Make a Claim Against My Maritime Employer?

    Many maritime workers shy away from filing legitimate injury claims when they are hurt in maritime accidents because they are afraid that they will be blacklisted or blackballed in the industry. In other words, they are afraid that nobody will hire them again because they’ve filed a claim.

    It is important to understand that not every maritime employer blacklists or blackballs maritime employees who make legitimate claims. It is often maritime workers who file frequent and frivolous lawsuits who are blacklisted.

    However, if you have a legitimate claim, then you should not only file it with impunity, but you should file it with the expectation that you will recover the damages that you need and deserve.

    For more information about your potential right to damages and how filing a claim may impact your ability to work in the maritime industry in the future, please contact a maritime injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer, 1-800-362-9329 or via our online contact form. Our maritime accident lawyers will give you an honest opinion about whether your maritime injury claim will hurt your chances of working again.

  • What Is Considered Pain and Suffering After a Maritime Accident?

    Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify or even to explain because it is so highly individualized. However, in order to recover financial damages for pain and suffering an injured maritime worker and his New York Jones Act attorney must explain pain and suffering in order to recover damages.

    Generally, physical pain and emotional suffering are considered pain and suffering for maritime law purposes. Often, the testimony of a doctor is critical to a seaman’s recovery of damages. A doctor can testify as to the reasonably anticipated future impact of the injury for the worker and how painful the injury may be. Similarly, the worker and the worker’s family and friends may testify to the emotional suffering experienced by the worker and how the physical pain and limitations expected in the future may continue to contribute to that suffering.

    Pain and suffering damages are important parts of your legal recovery after a maritime accident. Lawyers in New York can help you understand what is considered pain and suffering after your accident and can help you get the recovery you deserve.

    For more information, please contact an experienced New York Jones Act lawyer today at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY (1-800-362-9329), and please read a complimentary copy of our publication: The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and Other Commercial Mariners which is available for free on our website.

  • Do I Always Need a New Jersey Maritime Attorney if I'm Hurt in an Accident While Working at Sea?

    Generally, it is a good idea to contact a New Jersey maritime lawyer if you are injured at sea. An experienced New Jersey Jones Act lawyer will review the facts of your case and help you understand whether you have the right to recover legal damages for your accident injuries. In other words, you have nothing to lose by contacting a New Jersey maritime attorney. If you do not have a case or the right to recover damages, then the lawyer will tell you so and you will be no worse off.

    Of course, there are some situations when a call to a maritime accident lawyer may be unnecessary. For example, if you suffered a minor injury while at sea that you were able to treat in minutes and that did not require any medical treatment and that did not result in you losing time from work, then there is likely no reason to call a lawyer.

    In other cases, however, when you did incur medical bills and when you did lose income due to your inability to work, your call to a New Jersey Jones Act attorney may be one of the most important calls that you will ever make.

    To find out more, please call our New Jersey maritime accident law firm at 1-800-362-9329 and please read our report, The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and other Commercial Mariners, which is available for FREE on our website.

  • My employer told me that he only has to pay me $8 per day while I am out of work. How can this be true?

    What your employer is talking about is called maintenance. Maintenance is an amount of money sufficient to pay the reasonable cost of food and lodging while a seaman recovers from his illness or injuries. The courts have held that a seaman is entitled to his actual cost of living expenses not a arbitrary amount determined by your employer. However, if there is in place a collectively bargained-for rate of maintenance, as negotiated by the employer and the seafarer's labor union, the CBA rate will be enforced.

  • What if a Toxic Spill on Your Vessel Leaves You Injured

    Toxic Spill at Sea: How to Protect Your Recovery

    We often think of the devastating environmental impact of a toxic spill at sea, and those environmental issues deserve our attention. However, if you’ve been hurt because of a dangerous chemical or substance spill on your boat then your own concerns are more pressing, immediate, and personal.

    You Need to Know How to Recover

    On board a ship, you could be injured by any of the following toxic substances:

    • Gas, oil, or fuel
    • Batteries
    • Paint, solvents
    • Antifreeze
    • Hazardous waste
    • Other substances

    Regardless of which chemical or substance caused your injury you are going to need a plan to make a prompt recovery. After receiving first aid on your vessel, plans should have been made to get you to shore. Now that you are back on land, it is important to follow your doctors’ orders and to protect your recovery by:

    • Staying out of work as long as is necessary to heal. Do not feel pressured to go back to work before you have medical clearance to do so.
    • Getting the medical treatments you need. Do not let money prevent you from getting the necessary medical treatments.
    • Understanding, and protecting your legal rights. Do not jeopardize your recovery because you don’t know what you can recover. Instead, learn how to protect yourself. You can start by reading our free brochure, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights .

    This won’t be an easy time in your life, but the steps you take now may make your future easier. Accordingly, we encourage you to:

    • Be honest with your doctors. Let them know exactly how you feel so that you can receive proper treatment for your injuries.
    • Watch what you say to your employer or his representative. Anything you say can be used against you and anything you sign may be binding.
    • Take steps to protect your rights. This may include contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options.

    While your employer may not be on your side, it is important to know that you are not alone. Your family, your doctors, and your maritime injury lawyer will help you so that you can get back to the life you want to live.