Abbott Clay & Reed

Can I Represent Myself Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on May 20, 2009 at 12:28 PM

If you are hurt during your employment on any water going vessel, your rights are protected under the Jones Act. Most feel that it is most wise to retain the services of an attorney when dealing with a case that falls under the Jones Act; however, some individuals would rather attempt to represent themselves – and that is perfectly fine, as long as you know full well what they are getting themselves into.

You see, the Jones Act entitles maritime workers to a specific set of rights by law; rights that normal Workers’ Comp laws either do not cover at all, or do not cover to a degree that is fit for a maritime worker. With these specific laws, there are also specific procedures and time frames that must be met in order for a claim to be valid. For instance, if there is not enough clear evidence, your case will likely be denied. Therefore, although it is completely possible for an individual to represent themselves under the Jones Act, it usually does not return the results that one might expect.

The number one reason that individuals choose to represent themselves is to attempt to retain the cash amount that the attorney would have received, which is usually between 10 – 20% of the settlement amount. What some individuals do not realize is that, without an attorney, the amount of the settlement will likely be much less. This is because an attorney who has represented individuals in such cases before will know exactly what expenses or monetary compensation you should be entitled to receive. Many individuals that choose to represent themselves do not realize the many different things that can be included in such a suit and, if they do, it’s likely that they do not know how much they can actually ask to be compensated for.

So, if you are a maritime worker who has been injured while performing your maritime tasks and you are thinking about representing yourself, take the time to review the law and make sure that you fully understand it before you attempt to take on such a feat without the help of an attorney.

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