Even though barges don’t move quickly or typically go through dangerous waters, barges are actually one of the most dangerous workplaces in the maritime industry. Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that hundreds of people have died or have been injured in barge related accidents. A barge accident lawyer can assist parties who have been injured in barge accidents.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a barge accident, contact Attorney Group to learn about your options. We offer free, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated barge accident attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Important: The time you have to pursue a claim is limited. Contact us for more information.
Barge Accidents And The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal law that gives maritime workers injured on the job the right to recover compensation from their employer. Eligible workers are those who spend a significant amount of time working on a vessel (dredges, scows, and barges are included in the term vessel). The Jones Act is a no-fault law. It gives injured workers the right to have their medical care and certain lost wages paid for by their employer as they recover from their injuries. In addition, the Jones Act allows an injured worker to claim for future medical expenses, future lost wages, and negligence.
According to the OSHA, between 1997 and 2006, 305 people were killed on barges or barge/tow combinations, and 379 explosions or fires occurred on barges or tugboats, killing 14 people. If injury and death results from employer negligence, maritime workers are protected under the Jones Act. Examples of employer negligence may include:
- Failure to ensure that warning signs are placed in hazardous areas
- Failure to provide workers with proper safety gear
- Lack of sufficient safety training before allowing seamen to perform their duties
- Failure to repair malfunctioning equipment and parts
- Failure to provide a seaworthy vessel
In addition to loss of earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, injured barge workers may also recover punitive damages in some instances. The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals mandated that punitive damages are allowed in Jones Act cases if employers were found to willfully and recklessly break their duty in providing a seaworthy vessel to their employees.
A Barge Accident Lawyer Can Help
Barge operators and owners have a duty to make sure that they operate and maintain their vessels in a safe manner. If this duty is not fulfilled, fatal accidents may occur, and the barge operator or barge company can be held liable for injuries that may result.
People who are injured in barge accidents may be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from their injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or ability to work
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish resulting from an injury
If a person is killed in a barge accident, his or her family members may be able to pursue compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one. Wrongful death damages can include:
- Mental anguish, and pain and suffering from the loss of a loved one
- Loss of relationship or financial support of a loved one
- Funeral expenses
- Conscious pain and suffering or a loved one prior to death
Affected parties are encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
Contact Us For More Information
If you have been injured, or a loved one killed in a barge accident, contact Attorney Group to learn more about your options. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at [email protected].
When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group today.