Illinois Jones Act (Maritime Worker) Lawyers
Injuries among Maritime 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.
In Illinois, most of the Jones Act injury claims originate from accidents on the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.
An Illinois Maritime Worker Injury Attorney Can Help
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, our Maritime injury attorneys are determined to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Our comprehensive understanding of the Jones Act helps us protect Maritime crew workers and merchant mariners injured on Illinois waterways.
Our firm will investigate and prosecute your case under the law most advantageous to your situation without any upfront costs. We invite you to contact an Illinois Jones Act attorney today to discuss your case and legal options for financial compensation through a Jones Act claim.
Jones Act (Maritime Worker) Injuries FAQs
What is the Jones Act for Worker's Compensation?
Years ago, the United States Congress passed the Jones Act Maritime Worker Federal law protecting import ships from foreign competition from the United States. The Act granted Maritime sailors the legal right to file a civil lawsuit against their employers if they could prove negligence that might involve unseaworthiness or negligence.
The Act provides compensation for injuries, lost wages, pain, and suffering. The law covers qualified seamen and crewmembers with a work-related injury or illness under Maintenance and Cure.
What is a Maritime Injury?
Maritime injury is a legal term where ship workers were harmed while sailing on a vessel on America's navigable waters. Typically, a Maritime employee is not qualified to receive statewide Worker's Compensation benefits.
However, the law provides legal remedies to receive financial compensation for harm, injury, or wrongful death caused by their employer or coworkers' negligent actions.
Which Acts Cover Injuries for Maritime Workers?
Maritime workers are part of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act that provides financial compensation for any injuries occurring on navigable waters or near navigable waters.
Usually, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act covers longshoremen and others loading and unloading ships arriving from or traveling to foreign destinations.
What is a Jones Act Case?
In 1920, Congress passed the Merchants Marine Act (Jones Act) that provides a legal remedy for Maritime workers to file a civil lawsuit against employers for any injuries that occurred on the job.
A personal injury attorney handling a Jones Act case must prove their client was injured to the negligence of the vessel owner, shipmaster, shipping company, or fellow Maritime worker or crewmember.
How do I File a Jones Act Claim?
The Merchants' Maritime Act (Jones Act) is a complicated claims process used by Maritime crewmembers and merchant mariners injured on the job. Typically, a personal injury attorney will handle the case on behalf of their client to ensure that all work-related injury reports are filed within seven days.
The attorney will also obtain statements from the company's insurer and ensure that their client receives all necessary medical treatment to heal. Finally, a claim can be filed against the company to ensure financial compensation.
The claim could pay for hospitalization costs, medical expenses, time away from work, mental anguish, anxiety and depression, and pain-and-suffering.
Who Controls Maritime Law?
In 1789, the newly founded United States Congress enacted the Judiciary Act to strengthen Article 3, (2) of the U.S. Constitution regulating admiralty on the high seas, rivers, canals, and intercoastal waterways.
The federal government regulates all commercial trade, navigation, shipping, recreational boating, piracy, and towage on international and domestic waters. Many of the maritime rules date back to around 1160 A.D., where British admiralty courts controlled rules and regulations.
The Jones Act and What It Covers
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 and seaworthy, meaning that the boat or sea vessel is free from defects and is in proper working order. Workers whose work-related injury claims are likely to be covered under the Jones Act include:
- Merchant marines
- Harbor workers
- Boat officers
- Barge workers
- Tugboat workers
- River workers
- Cargo ship workers
- Offshore workers
The 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 hundred workers in the maritime industry claimed an injury. Many of these seaman's injuries were the result of their employer's negligence.
Since United States maritime workers can be classified under several types of jobs, it is difficult to gauge a real number of serious injuries, mental anguish, and fatalities related to those who work aboard or with water vessels. However, what is clear is that many employees and coworkers in this field could use help from a maritime lawyer.
Unique Aspects of Injury Law That Apply to Injured Mariners
To recover for your injury-related damages from the shipowner 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, like unseaworthiness.
Unlike other state workers and tradespeople 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. A personal injury lawyer will build a case using the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Legal Benefits Under the Jones Act for Injured Maritime Workers
An injured seaman is entitled to temporary benefits known as "maintenance" and "cure" once liability has been established against an employer. 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 claim.
Further distinguishing Jones Act benefits from those typically afforded under workers' compensation, an injured seaman might be entitled to 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. When a maritime worker dies in an accident, his family has 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 Experts on the Jones Act
Suppose you are a seaman, injured in the course of employment. In that case, a Chicago maritime injury attorney from our personal injury law firm 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.
As with all of our personal injury cases, we offer a free consultation, and we would be honored to have the opportunity to discuss your potential maritime injury cases, and Jones Act claims. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message.
Resources for Victims Injured on Waterways and Boats in and Around Chicago, IL: