Articles Posted in Jones Act and Maritime law

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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.

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Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand the importance of Illinois Jones Act Claims.

The Jones Act is a law enacted by Congress that provides protection to persons who are members of the crew of a ship or vessel. The Jones Act provides an injured seaman a remedy against his or her employers for injuries arising from negligent acts of the employer or co-workers during the course of employment on a ship or vessel. This means that the employer must do something unreasonable or fail to perform a reasonable act that would have prevented injury in order for the seaman to win his claim.

The Jones Act applies to inland river workers as well as offshore workers who work on a jackup rig, semi-submersible ship or rig, barge, drill ship, tug/towboat, crew boat, drill ship, dredge, floating crane, tanker, cargo ship, fishing vessel, chemical ship, research vessel, construction barge, lay barge, motorized platform, diving vessel, cruise ship, recreational boat or other floating/movable structures.

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Jones Act lawsuits are not limited to offshore vessels only; inland waterway seamen are also covered by the Jones Act and can seek fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries and medical expenses. The Jones Act applies to inland river workers as well as offshore workers and covers jackup rig injuries, semi-submersible ship or rig injuries, construction and lay barge injuries, drill ship injuries, tug/towboat injuries, crew boat injuries, drill ship injuries, dredge injuries, tanker and cargo ship injuries, fishing vessel injuries, chemical ship injuries, research vessel injuries, cruise ship injuries, other floating/movable structure injuries. The Jones Act does not require payment regardless of fault: in order for a worker to recover under the Jones Act, a worker must prove some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or by reason of any defect in the ship or vessel, the gear, equipment or tackle.

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The Jones Act is a law Congress enacted to protect workers who are injured on a ship or vessel. The Jones Act governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for the work-related injury or death of an employee. It is a federal cause of action, meaning that the United States Congress intended for all seaman’s injuries throughout the nation to be guided by the same liability standards of the Jones Act. Jones Act cases are different from normal Illinois workers’ compensation lawsuits: in a Jones Act lawsuit, you may seek to recover past and future economic loss, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity to enjoy life, loss of the ability to perform household services and take care of yourself, and other damages recoverable under the maritime law.

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Chicago Representative Fritchey has sponsored a bill that is now being read on the Illinois House floor that would improve protections for construction workers in Illinois. The bill is a response to the increasing dangers of working in construction that often include catastrophic injuries, disability, and worker’s compensation suits. The bill would increase requirements for safety features on scaffolding, require posted worksite safety information and warnings, as well as other detailed requirements to improve working conditions for Illinois construction workers.

For the full text of the bill, please visit the General Assembly.

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John Perconti of the Chicago Injury Law Firm Levin & Perconti and David K. Kremin of David K. Kremin & Associates (Chicago) settled a case for $4.5 million through mediation before the Honorable Donald P. O’Connell on behalf of James Talbot against Material Service Corporation (Lyons, Illinois) for their failure to provide a safe workplace. Perconti sued James’ employer under the Jones Act, a federal law that allows deckhands and crewmen on boats and barges to recover damages from their employers for injuries sustained on the job. As a result, James’ right leg was crushed between two barges and his right leg had to be amputated above the knee in order to save his life.

When twenty-four-year old James Talbot learned that there was a job opening at Material Service Corporation (MSC), he was excited about the prospect of earning his living on a commercial vessel on the river. James’ new job with MSC involved him working on towboats and barges on the Chicago River System to deliver aggregates (stone, sand, and gravel) for use in commercial and residential building construction. James knew that this would be hard work but was anxious to be trained in his new vocation.

On the day of the accident, September 18, 2004 at 1:00 a.m., James was still an inexperienced deck hand in training. He was assigned to work on board a towboat called ‘Alfred Hagerty” which was attached to the bow of an empty barge at the Ozinga facility on the South branch of the Chicago River. James was assigned to couple an empty barge (the 9301) which was already in tow, with an empty barge (the 9903) at a facility known as Prairie Material 32 in the River North area.

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A petition for certiorari has been filed with the Supreme Court of the United States, asking the Court to reconsider whether a cruise line may be held liable for the medical malpractice of the physicians it hires. Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court held that the cruise line would not be held liable because the cruise line disclaimed liability for the doctor in the fine print on its cruise tickets and because of the Fifth Circuit case of Barbetta v. S.S. Bermuda Star. In the petition, lawyers for the girl injured by the doctor’s medical malpractice argue that Barbetta should be overruled because it is based on the assumption that a sick passenger at sea somehow has a meaningful choice of physicians to choose from.
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