Iowa River Accidents

If You’ve Been Injured, Let Our Iowa Tugboat Injury Lawyer Help

Iowa has various waterways used by Iowa tugboats, including three main ports: the Port of Burlington, Port of Dubuque, and the Port of Keokuk. Many maritime employees work aboard tugboats in Iowa each year. Unfortunately, many tugboat workers are injured each year because of the dangers of the job — some severely.  Below are four common causes of tugboat accidents and injuries each year, as explained by an Iowa tugboat injury lawyer.

Operator Errors Causing Vessel Collisions

A majority of boating accidents that occur each year are from operator error, which in some situations leads to vessel collisions.  Vessel operators need to learn how to operate and navigate tugboats properly.  Operators should receive appropriate education and certifications as required by law.  Unfortunately, unqualified tugboat operators have caused several incidents that have caused serious bodily injury and, in some situations, even death to workers aboard the tugboat, passengers aboard other vessels, and sometimes even innocent bystanders. Tugboats are typically smaller vessels, so exceptional operational and navigational skills are essential to keep those aboard a tugboat safe. 

Safety Hazards Onboard 

Before a tugboat departs from the dock, it is essential that crewmembers properly inspect the boat to ensure it is safe. Issues such as oily surfaces, mechanical breakdowns, and poor safety equipment can cause accidents while the tugboat is in the navigable waters heading to and from its destination.  

Tugboat Mechanical and Operational Failures

Unfortunately, even with the strictest and most thorough safety inspections before and after departing on a tugboat mission, mechanical breakdowns can and do occur.  When a tugboat experiences a mechanical failure while on a mission to assist another vessel in the navigable waters, serious accidents and injuries can occur.  Examples of mechanical and operational failures include, but are not limited to, broken equipment (such as ladders), engine failure, loss of power, and vessel operational issues that could cause the tugboat to capsize. When a tugboat loses power, the tugboat and barge can collide with other boats, barges, and bridges, which can lead to serious injuries for maritime workers and others involved in the collision. 

Failure to Maintain Safety Standards

Tugboat owners and operators must follow federal safety standards and regulations established by the U.S. Coast Guard and OSHAOSHA has also put together several free safety resources covering Deck Barge Safety and Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring. The U.S. Coast Guard has created resources that discuss safety issues, such as Equipment Approval (Type Approval) and Standards Development.

Unfortunately, even with so many safety resources available for education and compliance purposes, some tugboat owners and operators fail to comply with these safety standards, which leads to serious accidents and injuries sustained by workers, passengers, and bystanders. 

What Types of Accidents and Injuries Are Sustained By Workers Aboard Iowa Tugboats?

The common causes of tugboat accidents noted above can cause 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, and sometimes even death. For more information on maritime injury laws, see our article on Maritime Legislation that Protects You.

How Can An Iowa Tugboat Injury Lawyer Help You After You Sustain Injuries from Working Aboard a Tugboat? 

An experienced Iowa tugboat injury lawyer can help evaluate your case to determine if your tugboat related injuries entitle you to compensation. An experienced tugboat accident attorney can determine whether specific maritime laws such as the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) apply to your case. The attorney can also help you determine what compensation you may be eligible to obtain for the injuries you sustained. Injured workers may be able to recover for a variety of different damages, including, but not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, costs associated with rehabilitation, and other economic losses to the injured worker.   

Contact an Iowa Tugboat Accident Lawyer Today

The Willis Law Firm assists workers and their families who suffer from maritime-related injuries.  Have you or a loved one been injured while on a tugboat in Iowa?  If so, give us a call at 1-800-468-4878 email us through our online webform to find out more about your legal rights and options.

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