Lafayette Barge Accident Lawyer

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The crew of a barge subjects themselves to numerous hazards whenever they board the vessel.

Working on a barge is one of the most dangerous professions and has a very high rate of injury.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a barge accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Inzina Law Firm Injury Attorneys are experienced maritime lawyers who know how to obtain financial compensation for you under the Jones Act or other federal laws.

Why Barges Are So Dangerous

Barges are massive boats that have the capacity to tow up to 1,500 tons of weight. The average barge is almost the length of an entire football field, and this massive size makes them more difficult to maneuver and stop. Oftentimes, the ship’s captain must guide the barge through narrow waterways. These vessels can carry dangerous materials, such as petroleum and other volatile chemicals.

Work on barges can be grueling and dangerous. The workers are performing stressful physical tasks under challenging circumstances. At the same time, the barge owner or operator may be cutting corners to maximize their own profits. When you go to work on a barge, you can only trust the owner will do what is necessary to protect your safety.

What Are the Potential Causes of Barge Accidents?

Barge accidents usually happen near busy ports because that is where the most dangers are present. Ship captains may struggle to deal with the congestion, or they may not be able to navigate conditions. For example, in a major recent accident, a large container ship struck the support pylons for a bridge when the boat lost power, destroying the entire bridge. Barge accidents could also happen on the vessel itself. Employees may be injured due to the negligence of the ship’s owner or operator.

Causes of barge accident injuries include:

  • Fires and explosions
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Collisions with fixed objects
  • Collisions with other barges
  • Hazards on the deck (causing slip and falls or overboard accidents)
  • Malfunctioning heavy machinery
  • Capsizing and sinking

What makes barge accidents even more dangerous is the presence of water. Falling overboard is one of the most common barge accidents and can lead to drowning or hypothermia.

The Jones Act and Barge Injuries

What type of compensation you can pursue depends on the facts and circumstances of your situation. If you are an employee who is permanently assigned to and spends at least 30% of your time on a navigable vessel, and you contribute to the function of a vessel or to the accomplishment of the vessel’s mission, you can file a lawsuit against your employer under the Jones Act.

Federal law allows you to sue for negligence, and you could receive more compensation than you otherwise would have in a workers’ compensation claim. If you do not meet the legal definition of the Jones Act (and your attorney would argue that you do because it could lead to more compensation), you can still file a workers’ compensation claim under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Filing an Action for a Barge Accident

Your lawyer would begin the legal process by conducting an investigation of what happened to cause your injury. If you are a seaman, the Jones Act is your exclusive remedy and you would have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer would begin by gathering evidence that can be used to describe your cause of action in a legal complaint. They would then file it with the court and serve it on the defendant to begin the case.

Your case would proceed just like any other lawsuit, where you would have a lengthy period of pretrial motions and gathering evidence to the discovery process. In many cases, your lawsuit would reach a settlement agreement before it ever went to trial. If the defendant refuses to settle, your lawyer would try your case in court. At Inzina Law Injury Attorneys, we are not afraid to litigate your case if necessary, as our attorneys have spent a significant amount of time in the courtroom.

Speak to a Lafayette Barge Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a barge accident, Inzina Law Injury Attorneys is the determined and dedicated advocate you need to fight for you to receive full and fair financial compensation. It is up to you to take the first step, which is calling us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can begin to get legal help by sending us a message through a website or by calling us today at 337-243-1237.

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