Illinois River Accidents

Illinois River Accidents, Jones Act

About The Illinois River

Approximately 273 miles long, the Illinois River is a chief tributary of the Mississippi River. The river is formed by the confluence of the Des Plaines River and the Kankakee River about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois and is part of the Illinois River System which connects the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The Illinois River flows west across northern Illinois and then travels south to join the Mississippi River at Grafton, Illinois, about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis, Missouri. Cities and towns along the river’s course include Peoria, Ottawa, La Salle, Peru, Pekin and Beardstown.

There are a number of ports and harbors situated on the Illinois River, including:

  • Port of Beardstown
  • Port of Channahon
  • Port of Joliet
  • Port of Lemont
  • Port of Peoria

Illinois River Accident Lawyer

If you are a crew member who has been injured while working on a boat or vessel you may have the right to sue your employer to collect financial compensation for your injuries. Inland river workers, including crewmen who work on barges, tug boats, cargo ships, floating cranes, motorized platforms and other movable structures on the Illinois River are generally classified as “seamen” under the Jones Act. As Jones Act seamen, these maritime workers have several important rights under the law:

  1. Maintenance and Cure Benefits. Under the Jones Act, employers are required to pay maintenance and cure benefits to injured seamen. These benefits are absolute, meaning the employer must provide them to the employee regardless of who may be to blame for an accident. If your employer refuses to pay for your necessary medical care or delays your weekly maintenance checks, you should speak with an attorney immediately. The attorneys at our firm have extensive experience with these types of situations. We will review your case and help you collect the full benefits you are entitled to under the law.
  2. Negligence Lawsuits Against Employers. When a seaman is injured on the job due to the negligence of an employer or fellow worker, the seaman will have the right to file a Jones Act negligence lawsuit for damages against the employer. Unlike a traditional negligence case, the burden of proof in a Jones Act negligence case is low. When a seaman is injured, the employer can be held liable for almost any unsafe condition on the vessel. The seaman does not need to prove that the employer’s negligence was the primary cause of his injury – he or she only needs to prove that the employer’s negligence played some role in causing the injury.
  3. Negligence Lawsuits Against Vessel Owners. In some situations a seaman may be injured on a vessel that is owned by company that is different from the seaman’s employer. If this is the case, the seaman will have the right to file an unseaworthiness claim against the owner of the vessel. If the vessel owner failed to ensure the vessel and its equipment were safe and in proper working order, the seaman can sue the vessel owner for damages.
  4. Additional Legal Actions. When a maritime accident occurs on a river or any other waterway, there are often multiple parties beyond the employer and vessel owner who may be liable for the worker’s injuries. These third party defendants may include contractors, product manufacturers, equipment suppliers and maintenance and repair companies. When you are injured your attorney will review your case to identify all parties that may be held legally responsible for your injuries.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

If you have been injured while working on the Illinois River or any other waterway, contact the Willis Law Firm today. We are dedicated team of maritime injury lawyers who will put our 30 plus years of experience to work for you. The Willis Law Firm offers free, initial consultations to injured maritime workers nationwide: 1-800-468-4878.

Willis Law Firm
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office - Houston, Texas
5252 Westchester St.
Suite #275

Houston, Texas 77005
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