Chicago Harbor Worker Injury Lawyer
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), federal law protects harbor laborers against injuries on the job.
Workers can include longshoremen, longshore checkers, crane operators, port and dock workers, stevedores, shipbuilders, shipyard workers, terminal workers, vessel repair employees, marine construction workers, and other waterfront occupations employees..
Under the law, injured workers can seek the compensation they deserve because of injuries suffered in harbor worker accidents by filing LHWCA claims..
Compensation is available to employees holding waterfront jobs who are not protected by the Jones Act, which requires victims to be “seamen.” Alternatively, the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act is a comprehensive benefits system designed specifically for every injured maritime worker not classified as a seaman..
The LHWCA was designed to fill a gap between the state’s workers' compensation program and protection provided by the Jones Act..
Were you injured in a harbor accident and suffered work injuries? Did you lose a loved one through wrongful death in an accident that could have been prevented?.
The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, represent work injury victims to ensure they receive maximum Illinois Workers' Compensation benefits and additional funds from third parties responsible for causing the accident..
Contact a Chicago workers' compensation lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the form on this website to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients Nationwide and throughout Illinois including Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, McHenry County, Peoria County, Sangamon County, and Winnebago County.
Common Injuries Sustained By People Working In Busy Harbors & PortsWorking on and around open water can be a dangerous job even under the best conditions. The most common injuries suffered by dock workers injured in their workplace occur because of some dangerous condition which might involve:
- Explosions and fires
- Vehicle accident
- Machinery malfunction injury
- Scaffolding accident
- Falling heavy objects
- Forklift and crane injury
- Slip and fall
- Injuries and accidents involving material handling
- Defective equipment accident
- Exposure to toxic chemicals including ammonia, chlorine, creosote, and asbestos
- Occupational disease
Workers' Comp Benefits and The Jones Act
Over the last century, the Jones Act federal law has restricted water cargo transportation between ships and ports throughout the United States. Often referred to as the Merchant Marine Act, The federal statute protects American-built, owned, crewed, and registered ships.
The Law was enacted to bolster national security in the United States’ maritime industry, primarily coastwise trade (cabotage – transporting goods and passengers), defining seamen’s rights. The statute provides compensation for personal injury damages to anyone injured on the job while working on ships, oil rigs, and barges.
The Law does not provide benefits through the workers' compensation system to any maritime worker working at sea or in a waterway. However, the Law does provide compensation for workplace injuries when the injured employee files a Jones Act Claim.
The Act defines Maritime workers as seamen under the Jones Act, 46 USC App. 688. These workers could include seamen, harbor pilots, longshoremen, stevedores, dock workers, and bridge workers. Benefits are available to these workers through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 USC §§ 901-950
Compensation is available for medical benefits in an amount based on the injured worker’s monthly living expenses for life’s necessities, including food, water, utilities that they pay while not living aboard the vessel.
Illinois Workers Compensation Act
Under Illinois law, most employers must provide their employees with worker’s compensation benefits if they suffered a work-related job. However, not all occupations are covered, including police officers, firefighters, farming jobs, seamen, dock workers, longshoremen, and others.
Workers' Comp payments are available for every covered work-related injury even if the accident was not the worker’s fault. However, the injury must happen “in the course” of their work-related job.
In some cases, the employee could receive financial compensation for a pre-existing condition aggravated while at work, like respiratory problems worsened by inhaling toxic chemicals and materials. Other employees could receive workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries when working at a job that does not protect their safety.
Typically, Chicago workers' compensation insurance companies and service providers pay compensation directly to the injured employee. The employer must pay all premiums to the workers' compensation system and not pass the costs along to the employee.
Employers must post conspicuous notice of the name, address, and contact information of the workers' compensation insurance company or service company that provides worker’s compensation payments.
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, injured employees that qualify for Workers’ Comp. funds should receive payment for:
Medical expenses including needed first-aid, medical treatment, surgical procedures, therapy, and rehabilitation
Temporary total disability (TTD) payments until injured workers can return to their job after being released by their primary doctor. TTD benefits pay two-thirds of the average weekly wage (AWW), calculated in the previous twelve months before the accident occurred or they were last exposed to the hazardous condition
Permanent Disability (PPD) pays injured workers for any permanent disability, scar, or disfigurement. Family members who lost a loved one can receive death benefits under the permanent disability benefit option
Typically, a workers compensation attorney can protect the victim’s rights and ensure they receive maximum compensation under the Law.
Usually, the employer and their insurance company will retain competent workers' compensation attorneys to represent their best interest without providing any advice to the injured employee on their workers’ compensation act rights.
Available Workers' Compensation Benefits for Injured Longshoremen
The injured marine worker is required to file a claim as quickly as possible to obtain compensation. Notification of the injury must be made to employers within 30 days and a claim file within a year from when the injury occurred.
Benefits provided under an LHWCA claim include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary or permanent disability payments
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy as a part of the healing process
- Wrongful death benefit available to surviving family members
Typically, the amount of disability benefits equals 66 percent of an average weekly wage paid during the healing process. To be eligible to receive weekly payments, the injured victim is not required to show negligence as the cause of the accident.
There are cases where the injured victim is entitled to a higher amount of recovery in a negligence lawsuit when it can be shown that additional third parties are also at fault for the work injuries.
Much like state Worker’s Compensation programs, the LHWCA forbids injured workers to file for compensation against their employer through a negligence lawsuit. However, the regulations of the act allow filing a supplementary claim against any third party, including equipment manufacturers and ship owners that directly or indirectly contributed to the accident.
Why Hiring an Attorney Is Necessary to Protect Your Rights Under the Longshore & Harbor Workers Act
In many injury cases, the claims adjuster working for an insurance company will deny a comp claim because of missing documents and other evidence to support a work injury case for compensation. With legal representation, an attorney can provide valuable services including assisting the injured employee in preparing and filing a claim promptly.
The injury compensation lawyer understands the laws, can provide legal counsel and answer any questions, negotiate a settlement and when necessary, challenge any denial of the claim. An injury attorney will secure every eligible benefit to ensure that the injured employee is compensated adequately.
Jones Act Workers Compensation FAQs
Our Chicago work injury attorneys know that many families have unanswered questions filing and resolving workers' compensation cases under the Jones Act. A compensation lawyer has answered some of those questions below.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Chicago workers' compensation case. We are here to help.
What is the Jones Act for Workers' Compensation?
Approximately 100 years ago, the United States Congress passed the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act) providing seamen and others personal injury damages (workers compensation) when injured during the course of their job. Unlike most other workers, seamen, harbor pilots, dock workers, and longshoremen are not entitled to receive payments through the workers' compensation system.
Instead, the injured worker can file a civil lawsuit against their employer to obtain personal injury payments outlined by the Jones Act. Seamen might involve captains, crewmembers, and part-time ship workers.
How does the Jones Act Affect Cruise Ships?
The federal statute is a set of maritime vessel laws affecting freight, workers, and passengers. The Jones Act explicitly identifies coverage for cruise ship passengers under the PVSA (Passenger Vessel Services Act) provision. This provision applies to any ship or boat carrying passengers, not cargo.
However, the cruise ship must be registered in the United States and follow US maritime laws. Unfortunately, most cruise ships are not registered in the United States even if they are operating out of American ports.
What is a Jones Act Violation?
Ship passengers and workers cannot purposely disembark (leave) or embark (come aboard) a ship or cruise ship in an American port by any means or preplanned itinerary, which violates the Jones Act. Any passenger or worker insisting on embarking they missed getting on the ship or disembarking for a medical emergency violates the Jones Act.
These individuals accept responsibility for every penalty applicable under US Port Authority law.
Where Does the Jones Act Apply?
Congress enacted the Jones Act over a century ago to protect seamen, longshoremen, and passengers involved in maritime commerce throughout the United States. However, the act only involves American-built, owned, crewed, and operated ships.
The Federal statute was initially enacted to stimulate the shipping industry after World War I. In recent decades, critics have reported that the law increases shipping costs to U.S. ports outside the continental US including Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii.
How Does the Jones Act Work?
The federal statute provides seamen, dock workers, longshoremen, harbor pilots, and others the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employer to receive personal injury damages when injured on the job. However, these payments are different than workers' compensation provided to land-based employees.
Only a few Illinois workers compensation lawyers specialize in maritime law to ensure seamen receive maximum payments for their injuries.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC: Protect Your Rights After an Accident: Free Case Evaluation
If you or a family member are suffering injuries from a harbor worker accident caused by the negligence of another, you have a legal right to seek compensation. It is essential to file for benefits to ensure you receive the maximum benefit you deserve. However, tort law involving harbor worker accidents can be complicated.
The Chicago workers' compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) fight aggressively for our clients. We work to ensure they receive adequate recompense to cover their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability, vocational retraining, pain, and suffering.
Our workers' compensation lawyers are committed to obtaining each benefit entitled to you for the injuries you suffer. We understand the complexities of maritime laws and can evaluate your case in a free initial consultation.
As your legal representative, our attorneys will investigate your claim to see if any third parties are also at fault for your damages.
Our Chicago, IL Workers' Compensation lawyers provide legal services in various practice areas including vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, maritime law, product liability, harmful medications, premises liability, and wrongful death.