Who is Responsible for My Barge Accident Injuries?

Barge Injuries Jun 16, 2017

Maybe you slipped and fell on a slippery deck. Maybe you were injured by a crane or other piece of equipment or machinery. Maybe you have been diagnosed with leukemia or MDS from a benzene exposure on a barge. Whatever it is that happened, you suffered a serious injury, and now you have a mountain of medical bills and are unable to provide for your family.

Barges are dangerous work environments, and seamen working onboard barges frequently suffer serious, life-changing injuries. If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to compensation, and one of the first steps to securing a financial recovery is to determine who is responsible for your injuries.

Determining Liability After a Barge Accident

Under the maritime laws of the United States, injured barge workers have three primary sources from which they can seek compensation for their injury-related losses. These are (i) their employer, (ii) the tug or barge owner, and (iii) other third parties.

Your Employer: “Maintenance and Cure” and Jones Act Negligence

For most barge workers, the first option for securing compensation is to enforce their rights under the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides injured seamen with two types of claims:

  • A claim for no-fault “maintenance and cure” benefits
  • A claim for full compensation based on employer negligence

Under the Jones Act, maritime employers are required to pay maintenance and cure benefits regardless of the cause of the accident. If they do not pay, they may even be liable for punitive damages and attorney’s fees needed to prosecute those employers and insurance companies. If an employer’s negligence is a factor in causing a barge worker’s injuries, then the employer can be held fully responsible for the worker’s injury-related losses.

The Barge Owner: Unseaworthy Conditions

Barge owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their vessels in seaworthy condition. This includes not only ensuring that decks, tank compartments, hatches, ladders, winches, ropes and lines, cargo holds, and other areas are properly maintained, but also ensuring that workers onboard the tug or working on the barges are not faced with other hazards that could lead to serious injuries. From slip, trip and fall risks on deck to missing warning signs and safety equipment, the law of unseaworthiness provides compensation for on-the-job injuries resulting from a wide range of causes.

Third Parties: Maritime Negligence and Product Liability

Along with employers and barge owners, injured barge workers will often have claims for compensation against other companies as well. Were you injured by a defective tool or piece of equipment? Did a maintenance company perform a faulty repair job that led to the accident that caused your injury? Was the accident caused by someone on another vessel or at port? These are all questions that need to be answered in order to make sure you receive just compensation for your barge accident injuries.

Find Out if You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Barge Accident Injuries

If you were injured while working on a barge, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your rights as soon as possible. Licensed in Texas and New York, barge injury lawyer David P. Willis can help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries. To find out if you may be entitled to compensation, call 1-800-GOT HURT or request a free, confidential consultation online today.

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