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Illinois Jones Act (Maritime Worker) Accident Lawyers

Maritime Injuries / Jones ActInjuries among crew members and merchant mariners were so prevalent in the early 20th century that Congress established the Jones Act, officially titled the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

Although the federal law was initially intended to protect merchant marines, the Act now typically covers a broad spectrum of injured workers or 'seaman' who work on ships and other vessels on navigable waters including seas, lakes, rivers, or channels.

Most Jones Act injury claims in Illinois originate from accidents on the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, and navigable waterways statewide.

Hiring a Jones Act Accident Attorney

The maritime injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Our team of lawyers protects Maritime workers injured in Illinois waterways and vindicate their rights under the Jones Act.

Our expert investigators and competent attorneys will gather evidence and build a strong case to resolve your compensation claim equitably. Contact an Illinois Jones Act attorney today at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your accident case and legal options for financial compensation through a Jones Act claim.

Jones Act Maritime Worker Accident FAQs

What is a Maritime Injury?

Most Maritime injuries are the result of slipping, tripping, and falling on moving, uneven, slippery, or wet surfaces, stairways, and decks. Maritime workers who fall on a ship break bones or experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord damage, deep lacerations, and more.

Other injuries are the result of exposure to toxic chemicals, including scale remover chemicals and cleaning agents. Some Maritime workers are injured through exhaustion, overexertion, electrical shock, and burns caused by explosions or exposure to fire.

What is a Maritime Worker?

Maritime work is one of the world's oldest professions as seafaring vessels move cargo across open waters.

Workers on cruise ships and cargo ships hold different occupations, including pilots, engineers, officers, deckhands, boatswains, seamen, mates, firefighters, stewards, and service staff.

What is the Number 1 Cause of Workplace Accidents?

Slipping, tripping, and falling over debris, on slippery surfaces, and down stairways is the number one cause of workplace accidents involving Maritime compensation. Overexertion and the body's reaction to unexpected circumstances account for most non-fatal injuries aboard seaworthy vessels.

What is the Jones Act for Workers Compensation?

Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 to protect import ships from the United States from foreign competition. The Act continues to regulate Maritime commerce in all waters and ports controlled by the United States.

The federal law also grants maritime workers the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employer when injured by the unseaworthiness of the vessel or negligence by the employer or others.

How do I File a Jones Act Claim?

If you were injured while performing maritime work, you must report your injuries to proper authorities within seven days. Your employer's insurer will ask you to provide a statement.

Next, seek immediate medical care to ensure you are adequately diagnosed by a competent doctor using the best diagnostic tools to receive needed treatment. Finally, decide if you should hire legal representation to file a case and settle the suit for compensation paid by the employer's insurance company.

Is the Jones Act Still in Effect?

Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 to regulate maritime commerce in all waters controlled by the United States. The Jones Act still regulates all cargo and goods shipped between American ports on vessels that have been constructed, owned, and operated by American citizens or permanent residents.

What is the Jones Act and who Does it Cover?

The Jones Act requires owners of commercial watercraft to provide well-maintained and safe vessels for their employees. Every part of the vessel must be maintained in a seaworthy manner, meaning that the boat or sea vessel is free from defects and is in proper working order.

Employees whose work-related injury claims are likely to be covered under the Jones Act include:

  • Merchant marines
  • Harbor workers
  • Seamen
  • Boat officers
  • Barge workers
  • Tugboat workers
  • River workers
  • Deckhands
  • Cooks
  • Technicians
  • Cargo ship workers
  • Cruise ship workers
  • Pilots
  • Offshore workers

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies most workers under maritime injury occupations. Maritime work is considered one of the more dangerous job categories, including commercial fishing and oil rig work, involving water travel.

The hazards of weather while out on the water add danger to what are often physically demanding jobs. In 2011, two out of every 100 workers in the maritime industry claimed an injury. Many of these injuries were the result of their employer's negligence.

Maritime work is classified under several types of occupations. The classifications of employees and co-workers make it challenging to gauge the number of serious injuries and fatalities related to those working aboard or with water vessels.

However, what is clear is that many workers in this field could use the legal representation of a maritime lawyer.

Unique Aspects of Injury Law That Apply to Injured Mariners

You must establish that your injury was at least in part the fault of your employer to recover for your injury-related damages from the shipowner or operator of a vessel under the Jones Act. In other words, you must demonstrate that a dangerous condition, ship's unseaworthiness, or other consequence of negligence on the sea vessel caused or contributed to the injury.

Unlike other merchants injured in the course of their employment and covered under workers' compensation, the sole remedy for an injured seaman is to pursue a Jones Act lawsuit.

Legal Benefits Under the Jones Act for Injured Maritime Workers

Once liability has been established against an employer, an injured seaman is entitled to temporary benefits known as "maintenance" and "cure." Maintenance is a stipend paid to workers who are taken out of work by a physician due to their injury.

A cure is a reimbursement for medical expenses for doctors, medical treatment, hospitals, medical bills, and prescriptions. Our Jones Act lawyers are experts on this subject and can help you learn more about pursuing a Jones Act case.

Further distinguishing Jones Act benefits from those typically afforded under workers' compensation. An injured seaman might receive significant compensation for lost wages, disability, fringe benefits, and pain and suffering. Injured maritime workers must have an Illinois Jones Act lawyer on their side who understands the law and their legal right to obtain financial damages for their injury.

Surviving family members of a maritime worker killed in an accident have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit based on the maritime law that applies to their situation.

Hire the Best Illinois Maritime Lawyers and Jones Act Experts

Are you a seaman injured in the course of your employment? The Chicago maritime injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and determine if you can pursue a potential third-party claim against a subcontractor or product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer who contributed to your injury.

If you were injured on a vessel or dock in Illinois or lost a loved one in a maritime accident, receive the attention you deserve from our maritime accident law firm instead of being treated like just another number at a large firm. We offer every potential client a free consultation to allow injured victims to discuss their maritime injury cases and Jones act claims.

Contact our Cook County law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

Resources for Victims Injured on Waterways and Boats in and Around Chicago, IL:

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Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa