Most workers in America are entitled to workers compensation benefits after a workplace injury, but not all workers. Seamen who work aboard vessels in navigable waters fall under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act. The act extends the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to include seamen. It allows seamen injured at sea in the course of employment to bring personal injury claims their employers.

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If you have suffered a maritime injury on the job, speak with our experienced Chicago boating accident attorney. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries under the Jones Act. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is a top-rated injury law firm in Chicago, Illinois. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have decades of experience and a history of successfully recovering compensation for injured clients.

Attorneys with our firm have won record-setting jury verdicts, have been awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and have been named among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Leading Lawyers Top 10 Workers Compensation Lawyers in Illinois.

Rights of Injured Seamen Under the Jones Act

The Jones Act, 46.U.S.C. §30104, grants a seaman injured in the course of employment the right to bring a civil action against the employer, with the right of trial by jury. If a seaman dies from work-related injuries, the personal representative of the seaman has the right to sue the employer. Federal laws regulating recovery for personal injury or death of a railway employee apply to this type of action.

Under the Jones Act, injured seamen may sue their employers for maritime injuries caused by employer negligence, or if the vessel was unfit for its intended purpose. In a Jones Act lawsuit, workers may seek compensation for:

  • Past and future economic loss
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of ability to perform household services
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of capacity to enjoy life

What Workers Are Included Under the Jones Act?

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The Jones Act gives the right to sue employers to crewmen on a boat or vessel who are injured while working due to employer negligence or vessel defects. Vessels under the Jones Act include:

  • Barges
  • Offshore drilling rigs
  • Drill ships
  • Moveable motorized structures that float from hole to hole

How Is the Jones Act Different than Workers Compensation?

Jones Act maritime injury lawsuits and workers compensation are both designed to provide compensation for injured workers. Workers’ compensation is is a no-fault system. In contrast, compensation for an injured worker is not guaranteed under the Jones Act.

A worker must prove negligence on the part of the owners, operators, or officers of the vessel, or fellow employees, or due to a defect in the vessel or its equipment, tackle or gear to recover for maritime injuries under the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides a legal remedy for seamen injured in the course of employment only when the employer has failed to perform a reasonable act that would have prevented the injury, or when dangerous conditions existed on the vessel that made it unseaworthy.

Contact Skilled Legal Representation

If you have been injured while working as a seaman because of employer negligence or a defect in the vessel or equipment, schedule a consultation with an experienced Chicago maritime injury lawyer at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.