The Southeast Texas Record reports that a man filed a Jones Act lawsuit against a boat named the Seahawk 2008, the Metalgenics Investment Group Inc., and Chandris Inc. after he sustained severe injuries when a wake from the defendant vessel caused a mooring line to snap and hit the victim in the face. Filing under the Jones Act means that the injured party was on a boat or vessel when injured or killed by another’s negligence. The Jones Act is a federal law enacted by Congress that protects persons who are members of the crew of the boat or vessel. It applies to all workers connected with boating and waterways.
In this case, the defendant vessel was traveling in an inland waterway at an excessive rate of speed, causing a wake. The Plaintiff alleges that the wake hit the sailboat that he was on, causing the mooring line to snap and strike him. He alleges that he sustained severe injuries to his head, face, neck, back and face. A mooring line is the rope used to tie the boat in place, usually at a dock or port of some kind and is usually secured on the boat when not in use.
The Plaintiff also accused the defendants of negligence for sailing at an excessive rate of speed, failing to slow down, and failing to warn the plaintiff and his crew of its wake. The Plaintiff is seeking damages for pain, physical impairment, distress, loss of earning capacity, among others and is requesting a trial by jury.
The Jones Act is a federal law, which means that its liability standards are enforced uniformly across all fifty states. Many maritime laws, like the Jones Act, are federally enforced laws. This is the case because it is difficult for states and their courts to come up with and enforce various laws and liability standards among the many waterways in America. To prevail under the Jones Act, an injured seaman must prove some fault or negligence on the part of the boat or vessel’s owners, operators, officers and/or fellow employees or by a defect in the boat or vessel itself.
Many working on our waterways may not know that the Jones Act is available to them, so it is important to understand that there are many federal laws that pertain to maritime (or waterway) issues. Click here for a complete compilation of Maritime Laws.
With the great Lake Michigan and Chicago River right in our hometown, our Chicago Jones Act attorneys understand just how perilous and dangerous working on our waterways can be for maritime workers. We are proud to have represented a number of injured victims in Jones Act cases. In fact, we obtained a $4.5 million settlement, the largest Jones Act settlement ever recorded in Illinois, for a barge worker who lost his leg in an onboard accident. With this experience, we understand that any injury incurred while on the water can be life changing and difficult for the victim and their family. If you or a loved one has been injured while working on a boat or vessel, please contact our offices to learn about your legal rights.