Victims of Barge and Tugboat Accidents in Florida Need the Willis Law Firm
Barge, tugboat, and other seafarers are the lifeblood of Florida’s maritime industry. They often put their personal safety on the line when doing their jobs, facing the risk of a wide range of accidents that can cause serious injuries and even fatal consequences. If you’re in a situation like that, our Florida tugboat accident lawyer can help you.
The Willis Law Firm has been helping people injured in barge, tugboat, and other maritime accidents in Florida and across the country for more than three decades. We have dedicated our careers to helping people in their times of need and our firm has a proud record of successful results for our clients and their families.
Maritime employers — and, more importantly, their insurers — often play hardball to try to avoid or limit paying the full benefits available under the law, which is why it is vital to have an experienced Florida barge and tugboat accident attorney in your corner.
Three Things You Need to Know from a Florida Tugboat Accident Attorney
1. You May be Entitled to Medical Benefits and Compensation
The good news for maritime workers injured on the job is that a century-old federal law may entitle you to a variety of benefits and compensation.
The Jones Act requires maritime employers to provide certain medical benefits to tugboat, barge and some other workers for an injury or illness sustained aboard a ship. This is a no-fault system in which benefits are available for seamen covered by the law, regardless of who is to blame.
The law also makes injured maritime workers eligible for compensation for missed wages and other costs of living during recuperation onshore.
Most employers have insurance to cover these payouts. That means that the insurer — not your employer — will decide whether to pay the claim and will be involved in any settlement negotiations. A Florida tugboat accident lawyer at our firm can help you build the strongest possible claim for benefits and compensation.
2. Your Employer May Be Held Liable for Negligence After a Barge or Tugboat Accident
A maritime worker injured on the job can also sue for money damages if the accident was caused by negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness. Negligence refers to a wide range of wrongful behavior that causes an accident — or makes injuries worse — from leaving areas of a vessel in dangerous condition to failing to properly train and oversee crewmembers.
In these cases, the injured person can sue for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are designed to cover the financial impact of an accident by compensating an injured person for medical bills, missed wages and any reduction in earning capacity resulting from the injury. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering and quality of life implications related to an injury.
Certain situations in which an offshore accident was caused by particularly reckless behavior, additional punitive damages may also be awarded as a form of punishment for those responsible.
Tragically, some tugboat and barge accidents turn fatal. In the event that a person dies in a maritime accident, his or her loved ones have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death.
3. You Need to Alert Your Employer of the Accident Right Away
Reporting the accident is a vital step in the legal process that puts your employer on notice that you have been injured. It is also important in establishing that you were injured in an accident on the job, rather than offshore.
You also should get a written accident report signed by your employer. You should be sure that the written report accurately reflects what happened before it is signed. If your employer gives you an inaccurate report, consult a Florida tugboat accident attorney and respond in writing. Even if the report is accurate, you should also prepare your own written statement detailing the accident as soon as possible.
The Difference Between Barges and Tugboat Accidents
Barges and tugboats are often confused and commonly used together. A barge is a flat-bottom boat that does not have a motor and looks like a huge raft. Barges are mostly used to transport heavy goods on rivers and canals. Tugboats are small, motor-powered vessels often used to pull barges.
How a Florida Tugboat Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a barge, tugboat or other accident off the shore of Florida, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Do not accept a deal from your employer or the company’s insurer before first speaking with a lawyer for tugboat workers.
At Willis Law Firm, we have dedicated our careers to helping workers and their families who suffer from maritime-related injuries in Florida and across the country. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not get paid unless we successfully resolve your case. Call us at 1-800-468-4878 or email us through our online webform to find out more about your legal rights and options.