A seaman’s trauma gets worse after yet another accident. The Rogers v. Estate of Ashlock lawsuit shows the importance of the time periods to follow when asserting a personal injury claim. How long do you have before it’s too late? See the full story.
Mr. Rogers’ Personal Injury Case
Mr. Rogers suffered a hernia when a freezer fell on him aboard the F/V DUTCH HARBOR vessel owned by the Estate of Ashlock. The Jones Act seaman alleged that his vessel employer failed to provide medical treatment and forced him to continue working after his injury. Almost three years passed when Mr. Rogers fell on the deck and re-injured his hernia.
He filed suit for both incidents against his employer asserting that:
- his employer was negligent under the Jones Act,
- the F/V DUTCH HARBOR was unseaworthy, and
- he was owed maintenance and cure (M&C) benefits.
The vessel employer’s defense referred to the three-year statute of limitations for vessel crew claims. More than three years had passed before the seaman asserted his claims for the freezer incident. Did the Court dismiss them?
The Decisive Time Period of a Personal Injury Claim
The Court agreed that Mr. Rogers’ Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims were barred. However, they allowed him to pursue his claim for M&C benefits.
All seamen should know that timely action is crucial following an accident. There are certain time periods in which you must bring your claims. Otherwise, you risk being prohibited from recovering damages from your injury.
For example, you must bring claims for Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness within three years of the incident. It’s a good rule of thumb to do the same for M&C claims, even though the three-year limitation period does not govern M&C claims.
Want to learn more about protecting your claim? Discover more about the Jones Act statute of limitations.