Chicago Maritime Injury Lawyer
To many, Illinois hardly seems to have a significant maritime industry. However, due to the importance of the Great Lakes, maritime work remains strong in Northern Illinois. Millions of tons of general cargo move through the Illinois International Port District every year. The lake also leads to a great deal of other recreational and commercial activity like sailing, fishing, water taxis, cruise ships, and more. This means thousands of individuals work within the maritime industry, and thousands more enjoy heading out onto the water on personal boats and for-hire vessels.
All of this activity can lead to maritime accidents, injuries, and fatalities. If you were injured while working on a vessel or lost a loved one in an accident on the water, contact our Chicago workplace accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away at . We understand the complexities and nuances of maritime workers’ compensation claims and can guide you through the process of obtaining the compensation and benefits you deserve.
Common Causes of Maritime Accidents
A lot can go wrong while on the water. Unfortunately, operating or being a crew member on a boat, ship, or offshore platform can be just as dangerous as or more so than driving a vehicle.
Maritime accidents are commonly caused by:
- Improper training or qualifications
- Operator or crew member error
- Alcohol or drugs
- Equipment failures
- Electrical failures
- Improper maintenance
Common Maritime Injuries
Maritime workers face a significant risk of accidents and injuries due to the difficulty of their tasks and the unforgiving nature of open bodies of water. While on the water, seamen could suffer:
- Back, shoulder, and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured or crushed limbs
- Catastrophic amputations or loss of limb
- Significant lung injuries and diseases
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Drowning or oxygen deprivation
- Repetitive use injuries
Additional Laws May Apply to Maritime Accidents
The laws that apply to injuries and fatalities caused out on the water are different than those that occur on land. Numerous federal acts specifically apply to maritime accidents and not to injuries or fatalities that occur on land. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a maritime accident, then you should be aware of:
- The Unseaworthiness Doctrine: Every ship owner has the legal duty to ensure that their vessel is reasonably fit for its intended use. This is also known as a vessel being seaworthy. If a member of the crew or a guest on a boat or ship is injured, then they may be able to obtain compensation if they are able to prove the vessel was unseaworthy. This is a different type of legal claim than proving negligence under the Jones Act.
- The Jones Act: The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also called the Jones Act, enables seamen to recover damages based on suffering injuries in a maritime accident. Seamen include all men and women who are responsible for a substantial amount of work on a vessel or who, in some other way, contribute to the vessel’s function or navigation. If they can prove that their employer or the ship owner was negligent, they can recover economic and non-economic damages.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: This federal law extends workers’ compensation protection to shore-based workers who are injured while performing vessel-related work while dockside.
- Death on the High Seas Act: If an individual is killed in a maritime accident that took place more than 3 miles from the coastal shoreline, then their family may have the right to obtain compensation under this law. The family must prove their loved ones death was the result of negligence, default, or a wrongful act.
Pursuing Compensation Under the Jones Act
The Jones Act is essential to you as a maritime worker. It covers you if you spend at least 30 percent of your time working on a vessel, you are a part of the boat or ship’s crew, or contribute to the vessel’s function or navigation in some way. If you work in any of the following positions, you are covered:
- Merchant Marine
- Harbor worker
- Barge worker
- Tugboat worker
- Boat officer
Under the Jones Act, the vessel owner or your employer is required to provide you with a reasonably safe environment. If you are hurt while out on the water, then you are entitled to sue your employer and prove that their or another employee’s negligence led to your injuries. You are entitled to seek compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical limitations
Contact A Chicago Maritime Injury Lawyer for Help
If you work in the maritime industry and were injured in an accident, contact our Chicago maritime injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away. We are knowledgeable in the federal laws that apply to maritime workers and your injuries or deaths. We can explain your rights under federal law and guide you through the legal process of pursuing the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
Contact a Chicago maritime injury lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free, no risk consultation.