Illinois Jones Act (Maritime Worker) Lawyers
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 the federal law was originally intended to protect merchant marines, the Act now typically covers a broad spectrum of injured workers or 'seaman' who work on ships and other types of vessels on navigable waters including seas, lakes, rivers, or channels. In Illinois, the majority of the Jones Act injury claims originate from accidents on the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.
When it comes to protecting maritime workers injured on Illinois waterways and vindicating their rights under the Jones Act, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC 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 attorney today to discuss your case and legal options for financial compensation through a Jones Act claim.
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 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 the majority of these workers under maritime injury 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 maritime industry claimed an injury. Many of these injuries were the result of their employer's negligence.
Since maritime workers can be classified under several types of jobs, it is difficult to gauge a true number of serious 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 MarinersIn 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 WorkersOnce 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.
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 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
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.
Resources for Victims Injured on Waterways and Boats in and Around Chicago, IL: