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Deckhand Sues For Workplace Injury under Jones Act

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys know that the Jones Act allows injured sailors to make claims against their employers for personal injury that occurs in the course of their employment at sea. The Jones Act extends personal injury liability to incidents that occur in maritime jurisdiction, ensuring that accountability may be held against a ship owner, captain, or fellow members of the crew whose negligence leads to injury of others.

The Jones Act was originally implemented to rectify the problem that common international maritime law does not otherwise afford the right to maintain an action for damages at law based on personal injury. With the Jones Act’s passage in 1920, any person who is injured at work now has the right to bring a claim if the injury is caused by another’s recklessness or negligence. Personal injury lawsuits allow individuals to recover the costs of medical expenses and wages lost as a result of the damage, as well as pain and suffering incurred.

In particular, Jones Act settlements are available to any worker who spends at least 30 percent of his or her time working on a vessel in navigable waters. Lawsuits for any other type of workplace injuries may, however, be brought regardless of the amount of time spent at a job site. The reason behind the differentiation is that the Jones Act provides rights not otherwise afforded by maritime law, and because the exception is significant, the law must ensure that it applies to persons who spend a significant amount of time at sea.

According to The Louisiana Record, a Louisiana deckhand is suing his employer, American Pollution Control Corporation, after two separate incidents that left him injured. During the first incident, the deckhand was hurt when an unexpected movement of the vessel sent him overboard, trapped between two pilings. He claims the ship was operated negligently, and the fact that it was improperly controlled caused him to fall overboard.

The worker alleges that the second injury occurred when he was carrying an anchor and tripped over other anchors on the boat. Because the company failed to keep the deck clear of obstacles, they can be held liable as a result of the fact that the deckhand fell on the negligently placed impediments.

Following these injuries, American Pollution Control may be accountable for general negligence for failing to provide a safe working environment, failing to adequately equip its boats with proper equipment, and failing to properly supervise its employees. According to general principles of workplace liability, employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work atmosphere, and are liable for any injuries that occur as a result of a lack of safety.

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys understand the emotional and physical toll caused by workplace injuries, and have both the compassion and experience to fight for the rights of individuals harmed in the course of their employment. Our attorneys won a $4.5 million Illinois Jones Act settlement for a deckhand whose leg was crushed between two barges, which resulted in an above-the-knee amputation.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury at work or at sea, an attorney may be able to advise you of your rights.