If you are a barge worker injured or ill on the job, it’s important to know what laws will cover your medical expenses and lost wages. The Jones Act, FELA and Longshoremen Act are forms of U.S. admiralty law that may or may not apply to you. Contacting an attorney with extensive knowledge of maritime law is the best way to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injury. Pierce | Skrabanek understands the complexity of these laws and has a proven track record of successful verdicts for maritime employees.
Types of Barge Accidents
Maritime work has and always will be a potentially dangerous occupation. The following comprises some of the more serious barge accidents.
- Crane accidents can occur when a heavy item is unintentionally dropped from the crane onto a worker. Cranes also run the risk of collapsing if the weight is more than the structure can bear. These accidents are most likely to occur due to improper training and supervision. Always remember to wear a hard hat, as this can prevent severe damage from a blow to the head.
- Bow thrusters are used to maneuver barges in the water. Proper training and abiding by safety precautions are the best way to avoid severe lacerations or loss of limb.
- Tow wire and bridle line errors are often responsible for limb amputation and can be fatal. The body can easily be crushed by the force of these instruments.
- Pinch point collisions are responsible for some of the most painful and debilitating injuries barge workers face. Like being caught between a rock and a hard place, pinch point injuries occur when any part of the body is caught between two objects. They are often the result of improper training and taking short-cuts to try to finish work quickly. Unfortunately, trying to bypass procedures can result in a permanent disability or death.
Other common barge accidents include:
- Unsafe ladder mishaps
- Accidents due to understaffing
- Man overboard
- Back and neck injuries
- Equipment-related malfunctions
Barge Accidents and The Jones Act
Along the lines of traditional workers’ compensation laws, the Jones Act was created to provide for those who work at sea and port when they are injured on the job. Generally speaking, fault is not an issue. You may still be eligible for compensation if the injury was your fault, providing it wasn’t some egregious circumstance, like coming to work intoxicated.
Maritime law mandates that seamen who are injured on the job receive what’s called “maintenance and cure.” This provision covers living and medical expenses until the sailor or crewman is fit for work.
But what if your injury is long-term, or permanent? What if it affects your ability to work years down the road? And what if your employer bears fault for what happened due to improper training or an unsafe workplace? Federal maritime law requires ship owners to maintain a seaworthy vessel.