Chicago Jones Act Lawyer
Were you an injured employee on Illinois waterways and want to file for benefits as a seaman under the Jones Act? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury lawyers are determined to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence and can work on your behalf.
Our firm will investigate and resolve your case and pursue the most advantageous to your situation to ensure a positive outcome without any upfront cost.
Contact an Illinois Jones Act seaman attorney at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to begin an attorney-client relationship. Let's discuss your case and legal options to seek compensation.
Like all our bodily harm cases, our Chicago Merchants Marine Act attorneys from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC handle general maritime law cases on a contingency fee basis. There is no legal fee charged unless a client receives a financial recovery.
What is the Jones Act of 1920 (The American Merchant Marine Act of 1920)?
Injuries among crew members and merchant mariners were so prevalent in the early 20th century that Congress established the Jones Act, officially titled the American Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
The Merchants Marine Act is a special federal law passed to assist seamen seeking workers' compensation benefits for their work-related injuries through their maritime employers.
Although the general maritime legislation was initially intended to protect merchant marines, the federal statute now typically covers a broad spectrum of injured seamen who work on ships and other vessels on navigable waterways, including seas, lakes, rivers, or channels.
Most Jones Act cases originate from maritime accidents on the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan in Illinois. Merchants Marine Act lawsuits are typically resolved in the federal or state justice system and not in local courts.
The Jones Act and What It Covers
The Jones Act requires owners of commercial watercraft to provide well-maintained and safe vessels for their workers. 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 harm claims will likely pay benefits to an injured seaman under the Merchants Marine Act. The Jones Act applies to any injury in navigable waters involving:
- Merchant marines
- Harbor workers
- Boat officer
- Barge workers
- Tugboat workers
- River workers
- Cargo ship workers
- Offshore platform workers
In 2018, two out of every hundred injured workers in the maritime industry claimed damages. Many of these seaman's injuries were the result of employer negligence. The weather hazards while out on the water add danger too often physically demanding jobs.
Since United States seamen can be classified under several types of jobs, it is difficult to gauge the extent of physical and psychological injuries and fatalities related to those who work aboard or with water vessels.
Hazards in the Maritime Sector
Working in the marine sector can be hazardous. There are many potential dangers that workers can face, including:
- Falls from height: Workers in the marine sector often need to work on vessels raised and lowered by cranes resulting in falls from height, leading to severe injuries
- Working in confined spaces: Many vessels have limited space, creating several dangers for workers, including the risk of asphyxiation and being crushed.
- Exposure to hazardous materials: Workers in the marine sector can be exposed to a range of dangerous materials, including oils and fuels, leading to skin irritations, respiratory problems, and other health issues
- Working in extreme weather conditions: Workers in the marine sector often need to work outside in different weather conditions, including working in very hot or cold temperatures and exposure to high winds and waves.
- Lifting heavy objects: Workers in the marine sector often need to lift heavy objects, leading to strains and injuries requiring medical treatment.
By understanding the potential hazards that workers in the marine sector can face, employers can take steps to mitigate the risks and create a safer working environment.
Causes of Maritime Accidents
The common causes of maritime crashes may include:
- Lack of regulation in the shipping industry: Another cause of maritime crashes is the lack of regulations in the shipping industry. There are no federal regulations governing the inspection of ships, so there is no guarantee that all ships are safe.
- Few penalties for shipping companies: There are few penalties for shipping companies that violate safety regulations leading to unsafe conditions on board ships, which can cause maritime collisions.
- Human error is a leading cause of maritime crashes. Poor decision-making, fatigue, and intoxication contribute to maritime accidents.
With so many potential causes of maritime crashes, it is vital for everyone involved in the shipping industry to be aware of the risks and take steps to avoid them.
Maritime Accident Statistics
According to the United States Coast Guard, between 2010 and 2020, there were 4,521 maritime crashes reported.
Of those accidents, 3,046 resulted in fatalities. The most common types of accidents were vessel collisions (31%), groundings (27%), and fires (14%).
The Jones legislation passed in 1920 to protect seamen has successfully reduced the number of maritime crashes. The legislation requires that all vessels operating in US waters be built in the United States and manned by US crews.
It also provides for strict liability in negligence cases, meaning an injured party does not need to prove that the vessel owner was at fault to receive compensation.
Injuries Resulting From Maritime Accidents
Injuries resulting from maritime crashes can be severe and even life-threatening.
Maritime crash injuries may include:
Were you injured in a maritime crash? It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. In addition, consult a Chicago Jones Act attorney from our law offices who can help you protect your legal rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Maritime crashes can occur in various ways, including collisions between vessels, capsizing or sinking of ships, fires or explosions onboard vessels, and accidents involving cargo or passengers onboard vessels.
Maritime mishaps can also occur while someone works on a vessel, such as loading or unloading cargo.
The Need for Maintenance and Cure in the Maritime Industry
Maintenance and cure is a type of insurance that maritime staff access to cover medical management costs if they are injured on the job.
Maintenance and cure is an important safety net for workers in this dangerous industry, and it can help them get the care they need without worrying about how they will pay for it.
The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness in Maritime Financial Damages
The doctrine of unseaworthiness is another avenue of recovery for boat workers. The doctrine of unseaworthiness allows an injured worker to sue the vessel's owner rather than the employer.
Have you been injured in a maritime crash? You may be entitled to financial damages for your injuries. Contact a Chicago maritime attorney to discuss your legal options.
Jones Act Claims in the Maritime Industry
One of the first things you need to do when filing a Jones Act claim is to determine the statute of limitations. Under general maritime law, you have three years from the date of your incident to file a Jones Act lawsuit for workers' compensation payments, but there are some important exceptions to this rule.
Physical damage settlements from work are financial compensation paid to hurt workers while working on a vessel on the water. The employer or the insurance company pays the settlements. They can vary depending on the severity of the physical damage.
Seamen compensation claims have been the subject of much litigation. In particular, the Act has provided seamen with many benefits, including the right to raise claims against vessel owners and co-workers and sue for negligence.
Under the Federal Employers Liability Act, workers injured at sea while working can file personal injury claims.
Unique Aspects of Work-Related Severe Injury Legislation That Apply to Injured Mariners
To recover for your physical damages from the shipowner or operator of a vessel as a seaman under the act, you must establish that your damages were at least in part your employer's fault.
In other words, you must establish liability by demonstrating that a hazardous condition or consequence of a negligent act on the sea vessel caused or contributed to the damages, like unseaworthiness.
Unlike other state workers and tradespeople hurt during their employment and can receive benefits under workers' compensation, the sole remedy for an injured sailor is to pursue a Merchants Marine Act lawsuit.
A Chicago, IL legal council will build a case using the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act enacted to protect offshore workers.
Medical Care for Injured Offshore Workers
Injured workers are often reluctant to seek help from company doctors, fearing they may be penalized or lose their jobs.
Often, an accident occurs on the job, but the injured workers do not report it for fear of recrimination, leading to severe harm and even permanent disability. Injured workers have the right to seek medical help without fear of reprisal.
Seamen have a right to maintenance and cure to ensure that the vessel is fit for its intended purpose. The ship's owner is responsible for providing seamen to heal injuries with medical supervision and treatment until they can return to work.
An Accident Report in a Maritime Accident
The Jones Act requires that an accident report be filed when maritime crashes occur. The report must include information about the accident and the investigation findings. The act also requires that the accident be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The seamen and fellow employees are a particular class of workers with specific rights and protections. As a seaman, you must know these rights and protections to take advantage of them if needed.
Should you have any questions about the workers' compensation benefits or your rights as a seaman injured on navigable waters, you should consult with a Chicago maritime attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Contact us for a free consultation.
Holding the Liable Party Accountable
Where an accident occurred as the result of negligent acts on the part of a crewmember, the injured person may be able to bring a Jones Act claim in Lake County.
Cruise ship, offshore, or seaman worker has a legal right to file a suit against their employer for negligence if the employer fails to perform a reasonable action to ensure a safe working environment.
You Can File Claims if Jones Act Applies in Your Case
The Merchants Marine Act is federal maritime legislation that allows seamen hurt on the job to recover damages from their employers. To file a Jones Act claim, the injured person must be a seaman who was injured while working on a vessel in waters they could navigate.
The Average Settlement Amount in Jones Law Cases
Settlements under the Jones law are usually based on a percentage of the total value of the personal injury claim.
The average settlement amount is typically between 30 and 40 percent of the total value of the claim. However, settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Were you injured or lost a loved one due to a maritime crash? If so, please contact us, we will never share your confidential or sensitive information regarding your case. We can discuss your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Legal Benefits Under the Merchants Marine Act Seamen 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 sailors who are taken out of their position by a physician due to their injuries.
A cure is a medical expense reimbursement for doctors, medical appointments for care, hospitals, medical bills, and prescriptions. Our Jones Act lawyers are experts on this subject and can help you learn more about pursuing a claim involving maintenance and cure.
Further distinguishing the act benefits from those typically afforded under maritime workers' compensation, a seaman may be entitled to significant financial recovery for lost wages, medical bills, disability, fringe benefits, and pain and suffering.
Seamen must have a maritime lawyer on their side who understands the law and their legal right to obtain financial damages for their injuries.
When a seaman 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 Chicago, IL Personal Injury Lawyers and Experts on the Merchants Marine Act
Are you a seaman injured in the course of your employment? Our Maritime attorneys can help you understand your rights. Our legal team can determine if you could pursue a potential third-party claim against a subcontractor or a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer who contributed to your accident.
If you were hurt in an accident on a vessel or dock in Illinois or lost a loved one in a maritime crash, receive the attention you deserve for your case from our maritime accident legal firm.
As with all physical body damage cases, we offer a free consultation. During your initial consultation, discuss your potential seamen claims when a maritime worker dies, which are reviewed with our experienced trial lawyers.
Contact our Chicago, IL, legal firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to receive immediate legal advice from a Merchants Marine Act lawyer.