How COVID-19 Can Affect Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Nov 9, 2020

The maritime industry is very large, including over a million maritime workers across the world.  Because seamen work aboard vessels in confined spaces and close quarters to each other, such conditions are favorable for the spread of airborne diseases like COVID-19.  It is easy for germs to spread aboard vessels, especially those not kept in the highest sanitary conditions during a global pandemic. Unfortunately, maritime workers worldwide are struggling to stay safe due to the rampant spread of the highly contagious COVID-19.  If you or a loved one became seriously ill from working aboard a vessel, suffered damages, and don’t know where to turn, contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer at Willis Law Firm.  Our attorneys put clients first and are dedicated to protecting injured or ill workers from hazardous and unsanitary work conditions.  Extended Contract Periods Cause Maritime Workers to Become Fatigued, Sustaining Serious Injuries In addition to the challenges of staying safe from COVID-19 while working, some maritime workers are being forced to remain on ships past their contract period. This causes workers to become tired and mentally exhausted, making them no longer fit to safely perform their maritime work duties. Tired crew members and overextended work trips can, unfortunately, lead to serious accidents and injuries, such as: Slip and falls from oily deck surfaces,  Falling off defective ladders, Injuries from lifting heavy cables and lines,  Fractured and broken bones,  Drowning from falling overboard,  Amputated limbs, Burns from fires and explosions onboard, Exposures to toxic chemicals, and  Death. […]


Vessel Sinks off Coast of Japan After Typhoon Maysak Injuring Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Nov 6, 2020

Maritime Workers Are Hurt Every Year Yearly, thousands of maritime workers are injured while working aboard a vessel in the navigable waters. Sometimes accidents occur for various reasons such as operator errors, safety hazards onboard, mechanical issues, improperly trained maritime workers, fires and explosions onboard, and failure to maintain safety standards, among other issues.  However, some workers are injured or even killed because of severe weather conditions that hit the open seas while workers are traveling to and from their destinations, as was the case with a livestock ship that sank off Japan’s coast earlier this year. If you or a loved one were injured while working aboard a vessel, the experienced maritime accident lawyers at Willis Law Firm are standing by to help you with your case.   Maritime Workers Killed When Gulf Livestock 1 Sank In early September 2020, Typhoon Masak hit Japan’s coast, causing very rough seas and dangerous weather conditions.  Only days later, a ship known as Gulf Livestock 1 carrying approximately 6,000 head of cattle and 43 maritime workers sank. The livestock ship departed from New Zealand and was headed to China with cattle. On September 2, only days after the typhoon hit, a distress call was received from the ship just off Japan’s coast. Unfortunately, only a few survivors were rescued by the Japanese coast guard from the distressed ship.  One survivor told officials that the ship had lost an engine and then capsized after a wave hit the ship.   It is essential for shipowners […]


Are Maritime Workers at Risk of Contracting Infectious Diseases?

Maritime Injuries Nov 2, 2020

Maritime workers are injured each year due to various issues such as unseaworthy vessels, oily decks, fire hazards, and dangerous weather conditions, among other reasons.  One risk that maritime workers are exposed to that is not discussed quite as frequently involves workers contracting communicable (or infectious) diseases, such as COVID-19, while working aboard a vessel.  If you or a loved one became seriously ill after contracting an infectious disease while working aboard a vessel, the experienced maritime attorneys at Willis Law Firm can help you or your loved one obtain compensation for your work-related illness.  Our firm is dedicated to protecting injured maritime workers.  Unmasking Communicable Diseases Aboard Vessels Unfortunately, seamen work in conditions favorable for the spread of infectious diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19, Influenza, Norovirus, Hepatitis A, and Legionnaires’ Disease, among other contagious diseases.  Seamen work aboard vessels in confined spaces where workers commonly share close quarters.  Sometimes working conditions aboard vessels are unsanitary, which causes germs to spread rampantly.   Shipowners and operators must ensure that the vessels that seamen are working on are safe, clean, and healthy. Accordingly, owners/operators must follow safety guidelines and regulations and communicate policies and procedures for maintaining a safe work environment to the crew working aboard a vessel, including those related to preventing the spread of infectious diseases (like COVID-19).  Although no one can totally control the spread of a disease, they can take several precautions to prevent its spread aboard a vessel, such as the following: Provide proper disinfectant […]


Three Common Dangers Facing Travelers on the Mississippi River

Barge Injuries Sep 28, 2020

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river on the North American continent bordering or passing through Arkansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana.  This famous river can be divided into three main sections: the Upper Mississippi, the Middle Mississippi, and the Lower Mississippi.   Unfortunately, although the Mississippi River is a popular source of transportation for cargo on barges, it has experienced significant pollution and environmental problems over the years.  Additionally, many dangers lurk below and above this waterway, causing dangerous perils for thousands of voyagers traveling up and down the Mississippi each year. Below, our Mississippi barge injury lawyer discusses three tips to avoid dangerous perils that await Mississippi River voyagers.  Beware of Hazardous Twists and Turns on the Mississippi River The Mississippi River has stretches of high and low water that have made the passage up and down this river treacherous for travelers.  Especially when the river floods, it can create an aquatic obstacle course for travelers, creating current traps and sandbars that cut into the main navigation channel. Mississippi voyagers should be prepared for these twists and turns along their trip.  Watch for Dangerous and Rapid Currents Sometimes the Mississippi River’s current is traveling at a high velocity.  Dangerous currents can cause vessels to lose control and collide with other boats or even bridges and embankments, severely damaging vessels and causing injuries to workers, passengers, and even bystanders.  Be Prepared for Changing Water Levels The Mississippi River’s water levels can frequently change, causing changes in […]


4 Tips to Decrease Boating Injury

Barge Injuries Sep 23, 2020

Millions of Americans either work aboard a vessel or enjoy recreational boating each year.  While doing so, it is important to take certain safety precautions to prevent serious injuries, including death.  Below are four tips to decrease injuries while aboard a vessel in Louisiana.  Wear U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Life Jackets  Barge workers and individuals enjoying recreational boating activities should wear life jackets while aboard a vessel that are appropriately-sized and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.  You should always make sure your life jacket is in good condition before departing on your voyage.   Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before or During Working on a Barge or Recreational Boating Outings Vessel operators and passengers should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages before or during working or recreating on a boat or vessel.  Alcohol has been proven to impair cognitive abilities, affect judgment, and compromise balance, which can cause injuries such as falling overboard, slipping and falling, or even colliding with another vessel.   Use the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron’s Vessel Safety Check Service Before departing on a voyage, the operator of a vessel (and/or vessel owner) should use the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron’s Vessel Safety Check Service.  This service encourages checking items such as display numbers, registration documents, personal flotation devices, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, and more.  Below are some additional safety resources from the U.S. Coast Guard and OSHA: U.S. Coast Guard Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division OSHA Deck Barge Safety  OSHA Safety and […]


Difference Between the Jones Act & Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Tugboat Injuries Sep 21, 2020

Contact Our Arkansas Tugboat Injury Lawyer to Find Out How These Laws May Impact Your Claim Accidents that occur on or near the navigable waters are governed by a unique set of federal laws, and, in some states, special state maritime laws. Maritime workers who perform work on and off vessels near navigable waters may be covered under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  The Jones Act and LHWCA are complex federal laws that provide compensation to various maritime workers who are injured from the work they performed aboard a vessel (such as a barge) or in loading, unloading, or repairing a vessel offshore.  The Jones Act The Jones Act provides compensation for certain maritime workers.  Specifically, the Jones Act covers crew members, also known as “seamen.”  It is not required for a vessel’s employee to aid in the vessel’s actual navigation to be considered a seaman.  The employee must be doing work on the ship and contribute to the vessel’s function or the accomplishment of the vessel’s mission.  The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) The LHWCA is a federal law that also provides protection in the form of compensation to employees injured on the job that occur on or near the navigable waters.  This act may provide compensation to workers in the form of payment for medical care, rehabilitation services, and survivor benefits to dependents of injured workers who are killed from their maritime work.  Workers covered by the LHWCA […]


What to Know About Boating Under the Influence

Maritime Injuries Sep 16, 2020

“Tennessee is one of the nation’s leading states offering recreational waterways,” according to state government officials.  Many people either work aboard a vessel (such as a barge) or enjoy recreational boating in Tennessee ports and waterways each year.  Unfortunately, some engage in a very dangerous activity known as “boating under the influence” or BUI, which can cause serious bodily injuries to those impacted by it. It bears mentioning that all 50 U.S. states have laws regarding alcohol consumption and operating a boat.  Below is some important information that our Tennessee barge accident lawyer wants you to consider regarding boating (or, in some cases, barging) under the influence.  What Do Most State Laws Say About Boating Under the Influence (BUI)? In several states, the laws that regulate drinking and operating a boat or vessel are similar to those associated with drinking and driving a motor vehicle. It is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater in most states. The same limit is usually true for operating any other vessel. This is partly because, in 1998, President Clinton advocated for the establishment of a federal standard to define what is considered legal intoxication, recommending .08% BAC level as the standard.   Following President Clinton’s initiative, several federal bills were passed, some of which would cut funding for states that did not adopt this measure.  Accordingly, all states have formally adopted .08% BAC as the standard to identify legal intoxication.  Some states have adopted additional, more […]


Port of South Louisiana: Largest Tonnage Port in the South Dangers

Barge Injuries Sep 14, 2020

About the Port of South Louisiana The Port of South Louisiana extends along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, centering at the Port’s headquarters at LaPlace, Louisiana. This busy port is especially critical for grain shipments from the Midwest. Additionally, according to the Port of South Louisiana, this port is the largest tonnage port district in America and the western hemisphere. It is the premier gateway for export and import traffic in the United States.  Additionally, this bustling port, along with Louisiana’s other ports, including the Port of New Orleans and the Port of Baton Rouge, is important for the nation’s economy. These three ports each rank high in total trade by port as compared to all world ports. Thousands of vessels carrying large amounts of tonnage pass through these ports each year. With such high maritime traffic coming in and out of these ports each year, unfortunately, severe injuries to maritime workers, tourists, and even local residents are inevitable.  Read below for information on common injuries sustained by port workers, travelers, and the legal remedies available to compensate victims for such injuries.  Common Maritime Accidents and Injuries Sustained in Louisiana Ports Common examples of maritime accidents, such as from boats, barges, or other watercraft, that may occur in Louisiana ports include but are not limited to: collisions with other vessels, fires, slips and falls from wet surfaces, and equipment malfunctions. Injuries sustained from these types of accidents can cause serious injuries such as: Drowning Fractured and […]


Compensation for Injuries Caused by Unseaworthy Vessels

Articles May 26, 2017

Under maritime law, ship owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their vessels in seaworthy condition. This requirement is designed to make sure that workers onboard tankers, freighters, tugboats, barges, supply boats, crew boats and other vessels are not put at risk by dangerous conditions that can – and should – be avoided with proper care. Unfortunately, many vessel owners fail to meet their duties. Unseaworthy conditions are far too common, and too often they leave offshore workers suffering from serious, and sometimes life-changing, injuries. If you were injured as the result of an unseaworthy condition, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and it is critical that you stand up for your legal rights. Understanding Your “Unseaworthiness” Claim Unseaworthiness claims are unique from most other types of injury compensation claims because they are subject to the rule of “strict liability.” Under strict liability, a vessel owner is liable for injuries resulting from an unseaworthy condition regardless of whether the owner caused the condition, and even regardless of whether the owner knew the condition existed. If you were injured on a vessel and you can establish that an unseaworthy condition is to blame, the law entitles you to financial compensation. What constitutes an “unseaworthy” condition? The list is actually longer than you might think. Examples of unseaworthy conditions include: Dangerous conditions resulting from inadequate vessel maintenance Inadequate, inexperienced or unsupervised crew Lack of adequate safety equipment, including first aid kits and floatation devices Old tools or equipment that are […]


What if My Employer Refuses to Pay Me Maintenance and Cure?

Articles May 22, 2017

Under the Jones Act, maintenance and cure are “no-fault” benefits that your employer must pay regardless of whether it was at fault in the accident that caused your injuries. Collecting maintenance and cure benefits is supposed to be easy, but many maritime and offshore employers go to great lengths to try to avoid paying the benefits their employees are rightfully owed. If your employer is refusing to pay maintenance and cure, what should you do? Denied Maintenance and Cure? It’s Time to Speak with a Maritime Attorney Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. In many cases, employers simply bank on the fact that injured employees will not go through the effort to enforce their legal rights. So, they deny payment, and then they wait. If they don’t hear from an attorney, they don’t pay the benefits required by law. If you have been denied maintenance and cure, you need a lawyer on your side. Hiring a lawyer is the only way to get your employer to take your injury seriously, and if you don’t seek legal representation you can expect not to receive the benefits you deserve. What Can a Lawyer Do for You? 1. Force Your Employer to Start Paying Maintenance and Cure When you hire a lawyer, he or she will act as your representative in dealing with your employer and the maritime insurance company Your lawyer will contact your employer, and demand that it begin making maintenance and cure payments immediately. When they know they owe, […]


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