Jones Act Settlements in Illinois
Whenever a worker is injured on a boat, barge or other vessel on an Illinois waterway is cause for concern. Maritime workers often bear the brunt of the negligent decisions made by employers or contractors who cut corners on safety practices for the purpose of making more money. Below, we have compiled some published settlements and verdicts related to these type of cases. If you or a family member suffered a maritime-related injury, we invite you to discuss your case without any cost or obligation. As with all of our work-related and personal injury cases, we handle Jones Act cases on a contingency fee basis where there is only a fee charged when there is a financial recovery for you.
Amount: $600,000 SETTLEMENT
Late in the summer of 2007, a young 8-year-old boy and his father went out swimming in a lake. They were in Lake County, Illinois. At some point, a boat tried to pass them and accidentally clipped the young child on the foot. He was seriously wounded. His foot was severed in part and required many surgeries ad skin graft procedures to cure the injury. Also, his leg would never be the same because of the disability. He and his father sued the owner of the boat. They argued that his negligent operation of the Illinois boat caused the 8-year-old’s injuries and consequential damages. The defendant speedily replied that the two should not have been swimming at all because the beach season had ended. The two plaintiffs denied that this fact was relevant. In truth, it did not even matter because they settled for $600,000 just before the commencement of the trial.
Amount: $250,000 JURY AWARD
Injury: Herniated disc, broken pelvis
A man in his early sixties was unloading several boats when they collapsed on him. He suffered a herniated disc as well as a broken pelvis. He sued the owners of the boats for negligence and contended that they should have constructed a safer work site. The defendants thought the cause was not the working environment but, rather, the plaintiff’s actions. They alleged that he was working carelessly and should have been safer. Thus, they went to trial over the issue of what caused the accident. They jury heard the case, deliberated the matter, and returned a verdict of $250,000 for the plaintiff. Ultimately, they decided that the owners should have kept the area safer for all workers.
Amount: $600,000 JURY AWARD
A young woman sued a man after her femur was shattered when his motorboat ran right into her jet-ski. She sustained the aforementioned injury as well as significant medical bills and lost income because she could not attend work for some time. For these losses, she sued him in a Lake County court for negligence. She alleged that he should have kept better control of his vehicle and that he was responsible for her harms. However, he turned right around and said the whole affair was her fault for similar reasons as she suggested. They could not find accord so the dispute went to trial where a jury split the difference. They gave her $600,000 but also 50% of the responsibility.
- Pain and Suffering:
- $600,000 (Reduced to $300,000)
Amount: $200,000 JURY AWARD
Injury: Ruptured disc
This incident occurred on a casino boat in Will County, Illinois. The plaintiff was working on the boat and instructed to move many large boxes from one side of the boat to the other in a short amount of time. During the process of completing this task, he ruptured one of his discs. He sued his employer under federal law (the Jones Act) that allows workers at sea to recover for work-related injuries. Due to that substantive law, the only real points that he had to prove were that he was working at sea and injured as a result. To this, the defendant company claimed that they instructed him not to complete the assignment if the boxes were too heavy for him. Therefore, the real issue that the jury had to decide was did the company direct him to do this? They found that they did but also that the man was partially to blame. Thus, they awarded him $200,000 but also 15% of the blame for his injuries so he only actually netted $167,280 in recovery.
Amount: $1,200,000 JURY AWARD
Injury: Herniated disc
The accident victim in this case was 34 years old. He was a chief engineer aboard a ship. One day, while inspecting the vessel’s system he slipped and fell on a puddle of hydraulic fuel. He sustained a herniated disc and a complication to another injury he had previously had, a bulging disc in another part of his spine. The engineer sued his employer for these injuries. He claimed that they should have maintained the ship in a better fashion and that, as a consequence, it was unfit to be at sea. The defendant countered that the carelessness of the plaintiff triggered the incident, the boat was in fine shape, and that the plaintiff was exaggerating the extent of his damages. The plaintiff demanded almost $300,000; the defendant offered a little under $200,000; the jury returned a verdict of $1,200,000. However, they also gave him 33% of the fault for what happened so he actually only recovered $800,000.
A young man tried to board a boat from a marina when he slipped and fell into an open compartment of the vessel and sustained various personal injuries. He sued the owner of the boat for not keeping it covered with a hatch or other device and sued the owner of the marina for not enforcing policies that required such devices. The boat owner replied that he was not even operating the boat at the time of the incident and that the plaintiff should have obviously noticed the open area sufficient to avoid any injury. The jury disagreed and collectively held the two defendants responsible for the plaintiff’s damages, though they only awarded him $6,500. Plus, they gave the victim 50% of the blame so he only took home $3,250.
Amount: $29,541 JURY AWARD
Injury: Concussion; bulging disc; neck strain; head laceration
This was a head-on collision of two boats. The victim was one of the passengers and she sustained injuries to her neck and neck. She sued both drivers of the boats for negligence. Her complaint argued that they both were careless in driving and should have avoided the collision. The driver of the boat she was on said that the other driver caused the crash because that person was towing a jet-skier who came into his lane. That driver, and co-defendant, also said that the opposing boat operator was responsible. Eventually, the jury decided that they were both at fault and collectively forced them to give the woman $29,541 in the following damages:
- Pain and Suffering: