Injuries 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 originally intended to protect merchant marines, the Jones Act now typically covers a broad spectrum of people who are employed or who assist on ships and other types of vessels on the high seas, lakes, rivers, or channels.
When it comes to protecting maritime workers injured on Illinois waterways and vindicating their rights under the Jones Act, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is determined to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Without any cost to you, our firm will investigate and prosecute your case under the law most advantageous to your situation. We invite you to contact an Illinois Jones Act lawyer today to discuss your case and legal options for financial recovery through a Jones Act settlement.
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.
Workers who are likely to be covered under the Jones Act include:
- Merchant marines
- Harbor workers
- Boat officers
- Barge workers
- Tugboat workers
- Offshore workers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies the majority of these workers under water transportation occupations. This is considered to be one of the more dangerous job categories, along with commercial fishing and oil rig work, which also involve 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 water transportation industry claimed an injury.
Since maritime workers can be classified under several types of jobs, it is difficult to gauge a true number of injuries and fatalities related to those who work aboard or with water vessels, but what is clear is that many workers in this field could use help from a maritime lawyer.
Unique Aspects of Injury Law That Apply to Injured Mariners
In order to recover for your injury-related damages from the owner or operator of a vessel under the Jones Act, you must establish that your injury was at least in part the fault of your employer. In other words, you must demonstrate that a dangerous condition or other consequence of negligence on the sea vessel caused or contributed to the injury.
Unlike other tradesmen 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. Cure is reimbursement for medical expenses for doctors, hospitals, and prescriptions. Our Jones Act lawyers are experts on this subject and can help you learn more.
Further distinguishing Jones Act benefits from those typically afforded under workers’ compensation, an injured seaman may be entitled to significant compensation for lost wages, disability, fringe benefits, and pain and suffering. It is important that injured maritime workers have a Jones Act lawyer on their side who understands the law and their legal right to obtain financial damages for their injury.
When a maritime worker dies in an accident, his family has the right to pursue a lawsuit based on the applicable wrongful death law that applies to their situation.
Hire the Best Illinois Maritime Lawyers and Experts on the Jones Act
If you are an injured seaman, a Chicago maritime injury lawyer from our firm can help you understand your rights and determine if you can pursue a potential third-party claim against a subcontractor or product 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.
As with all of our personal injury cases, the initial consultation is free, and we would be honored to have the opportunity to discuss your potential case and Jones Act settlements.
Resources for Victims Injured on Waterways and Boats in and Around Chicago, IL: