What You Need to Know After a Push Boat Accident

Tow Boat Accidents Apr 14, 2023

Working onboard a push boat (also known as a pusher, pusher boat, pusher craft, pusher tug or tow boat) is a good way to earn a living. It is both challenging and rewarding, as you are responsible for helping ensure that barges and container ships get to port or out of the harbor safely.

But it can also be very dangerous.

Each year, multiple captains and crew members are injured in push boat accidents. These accidents range from collisions with barges and other vessels at speed to falls overboard. Captains and crew members involved in these accidents often suffer severe injuries, and, tragically, some of these accidents are fatal.

7 Important Facts About Your Legal Rights After a Push Boat Accident

If you have been injured in any type of push boat accident, there is a lot you need to know. Here are seven important facts about your legal rights as an injured captain or crew member:

1. The Jones Act Protects Injured “Seamen”

If you work on a push boat, you almost certainly qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that exists in order to protect individuals who work in maritime jobs and don’t qualify for state workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the Jones Act, seamen can file claims for financial compensation when they get injured on the job. Depending on how you got injured, you may be limited to collecting “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits, or you may be entitled to additional compensation based on the unseaworthiness of the push boat or your employer’s negligence. We cover these different types of Jones Act claims in more detail below.

2. The Jones Act Applies to All Types of Push Boat Accidents

If you were injured in an accident involving a push boat, you can file a claim under the Jones Act, regardless of the nature of the accident. The Jones Act covers all types of maritime accidents, no matter how they happen or who is to blame. This means that captains and crew members can file Jones Act claims for common push boat accidents such as:

  • Collisions with barges, cargo ships and other vessels
  • Slips and trips onboard
  • Falls overboard
  • Engine room accidents
  • Accidents involving ropes and lines

But these are just examples. If you have been injured on a push boat, you have clear legal rights—and you should discuss your legal rights with a lawyer as soon as possible.

3. The Jones Act Applies to All Types of Injuries from Push Boat Accidents

Just as the Jones Act covers all types of push boat accidents, it also covers all types of injuries from these accidents. So, whether you suffered a broken bone in a fall or got burned or electrocuted in the engine room, you can hire a lawyer to help you seek financial compensation. As we discuss below, the cause of your injury can be important for determining how much you are entitled to recover, but the nature of your injury does not impact your right to Jones Act benefits.

4. You Should Not Settle for Maintenance and Cure Benefits

As a seaman who works onboard a push boat, you may already be somewhat familiar with the Jones Act. For example, you may be aware that the Jones Act provides injured seamen with access to maintenance and cure benefits.

Maintenance and cure benefits are a form of “no fault” financial compensation available to injured seamen under the Jones Act. Since these benefits are available on a “no-fault” basis, you can file a claim regardless of how you got injured (with a few exceptions, such as if you injured yourself intentionally).

But, maintenance and cure benefits won’t cover the total costs of a serious injury. Fortunately, they are not the only form of financial compensation that is available. If you can prove that your injuries are someone’s fault other than your own, your lawyer can help you seek additional compensation for your injury-related losses.

5. There Are Several Ways to Prove the Cause of a Push Boat Accident

When filing a claim for additional compensation, there are several ways your lawyer can prove fault in the accident. For example, your lawyer may be able to review surveillance camera footage from a nearby port or marina, or your lawyer may be able to obtain key documents from your employer. In any case, it is important to investigate the accident promptly, so you will want to speak with a lawyer about your case as soon as possible.

6. You Can Lose Your Rights After a Push Boat Accident if You Aren’t Careful

In addition to waiting too long to hire a lawyer, there are several other mistakes you need to avoid as well. While injured seamen have clear legal rights under the Jones Act, seamen can (and often do) lose their legal rights if they aren’t careful. To protect yourself, you should speak with a lawyer promptly, and then you should follow your lawyer’s advice throughout the claim process.

7. You Can Hire a Lawyer for Your Push Boat Accident Claim at No Out-of-Pocket Cost

Whether you are limited to seeking maintenance and cure benefits or you have a claim for additional compensation based on unseaworthiness or Jones Act negligence, you can hire a lawyer for your push boat accident claim at no out-of-pocket cost. Your lawyer will investigate the accident and file your claim free of charge, and your legal fees (if any) will be calculated as a percentage of your financial award.

Discuss Your Push Boat Accident Claim with a Lawyer for Free

At Willis Law Firm, we represent push boat captains and crew members nationwide in claims under the Jones Act. If you need help dealing with the costs of a serious injury, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To speak with an experienced lawyer about your legal rights in confidence, call us at 800-468-4878, or tell us how we can reach you online and we will be in touch shortly.

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office
5005 Riverway Drive
Suite #160

Houston, Texas 77056

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Willis Law Firm Portway Plaza
1717 Turning Basin Dr.
Suite #232

Houston, Texas 77029

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