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Your Personal Injury Toolkit

How Claims Work

We will help you understand the process of a maritime injury case.

Claims are ordinarily handled in three ways:

  1. Direct negotiations with an employer or adjuster
  2. Filing suit in a State or Federal court with litigation concurrent with negotiations
  3. Administrative legal proceedings before a State or Federal agency

The amount of time required for claims processing (and the procedures involved) varies dramatically depending on the claim. The speed at which claims are handled often depends on the amount of work and time being committed to getting the claims resolved.

For example, if the claimant’s representative is ignoring the claim, it is likely the employer or insurer will also ignore the claim, and claims processing will be prolonged. If progress is not being made in negotiations with a claims representative or employer, we may find it appropriate to commence a lawsuit or initiate an administrative proceeding. In maritime injury cases, this is often the best way to be sure a date is established whereby either the claim is resolved or a trial or hearing is held.

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In some cases, an employer, claims representative, or insurance carrier will prolong the time it takes to resolve the claim as part of a strategy to force the claimant into accepting a lower settlement. Employers and insurance companies often monitor whether an injured person is inappropriately applying for unemployment, working against medical advice, or engaging in activities inconsistent with the amount of the claimed medical disability. Surveillance of the injured person is shockingly common. Some employers are known to use job offers inconsistent with medical disabilities to entice a claimant into taking a job inconsistent with the disability claim.

While there is no specific rule as to how long it takes to process a claim, a claim filed in federal court in the Western District of Washington can take from 12 to 14 months (sometimes longer) before it reaches resolution by trial. There are also instances where, through active negotiation and substantial work on developing a claimant’s file, a claim can be resolved within a few weeks or months.

If you have been injured and are unable to work, waiting for your claim to be resolved can be extremely frustrating and difficult as you continue to experience loss of income in the intervening months. Having a legal representative who actively pursues maintenance, temporary disability payments, unearned wages due under contract, or unpaid bonus can help, but these benefits may not apply in every case.

Though Injury At Sea is not permitted to advance funds for your personal living expenses, we can assist in explaining to your creditors the particular circumstances causing you to be in financial distress. Additionally, in appropriate cases, we have issued letters to our clients’ creditors providing for payment(s) at the time of settlement from settlement proceeds.

We do not guarantee, assure, or represent that a settlement in a particular case will be forthcoming, or the amount of a settlement, if any, and we that require letters to persons other than our client state specific limitations regarding reliance on settlement proceeds payable in personal maritime injury actions. 

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