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Maritime and railroad injuries require different approaches

Those who choose a profession working on the water or railroads usually have a different approach to life and their daily duties. The fact that they also have different protections on the job is another way that they differ. The Jones Act is likely the most distinct difference in the protections that apply to a marine worker who suffers a work-related injury. Illinois residents who have suffered maritime and railroad injuries still have the right to file injury claims.

Marine workers have the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 -- commonly referred to as the Jones Act -- which was enacted as a way to protect those who spend a minimum of 30 percent of their working day in or on a vessel that is capable of traveling along navigable waters. This act was needed to protect injured marine workers since they do not qualify under the workers' compensation program for most land-based employees. The vessels that are covered by this act are those that are typically used for commercial purposes, though these ships are sometimes commissioned for military use in certain circumstances. 

The Jones Act stipulates that an injured marine worker can file a claim against his or her employer even if the injury was only partially the fault of the work environment. For instance, if an employee were to trip or fall over an obstacle that is out of place and the worker suffered a serious injury, then he or she could decide to file a claim against the employer. Other scenarios that could lead to a serious injury are improperly trained crew members, inadequate or poorly maintained machinery or equipment, and even an assault by a fellow employee.

Unlike typical workers' compensation claims, the Jones Act allows injured workers to sue their employers to recover any damages they incurred, and the requirements for proving negligence are not as stringent. However, the process can be complex and challenging, which is why having an attorney on one's side can make all the difference. Illinois residents who have suffered from maritime and railroad injuries and may be unsure how to proceed or encounter difficulties during the process may consult an experienced injury attorney in order to have the process handled as efficiently and timely as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "The Jones Act and Merchant Marines", Aug. 14, 2017

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