Towing is one of the most common–and riskiest–maritime activities. Maritime towage accidents are frequent, as small but powerful tugboats move much larger ships in crowded harbors, tow oil platforms or barges laden with dangerous materials, and conduct risky salvage missions in the high seas. The crew members of tug boats and barges face many risks–arguably more the ordinary sailors. Injuries may occur for a variety of reasons, such as collisions in busy harbors, rivers, and waterways or the inherent dangers of pushing towing lines to their mechanical limits.
Fortunately, federal law provides a clear path for sailors involved in maritime towing accidents. With an experienced Houston maritime lawyer by your side, you can maximize your chances of recovering what you deserve. At The Krist Law Firm P.C., we can negotiate on your behalf with the ship owner’s insurance company, and take your claim to court should it be necessary. If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident, call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free case consultation.
What Laws Govern an Injured Sailor’s Right to Compensation?
Whether you’re the captain, pilot, mate, engineer, cook, or deckhand of a tug or barge, your right to compensation after an injury is governed by the Jones Act. This federal law, which is found at 46 U.S.C. § 30104, gives you the right to sue your employer to recover the following types of damages after an injury:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost earning capacity
- Fringe benefits
- Loss of support for your dependents
- Loss of value of household services
- Funeral expenses (that your estate can recover should you succumb to your injuries)
To succeed in your attempt at recovering, you will need to provide proof that you are a seaman, which means that you spend more than 30 percent of your time on a vessel that operates in navigable waters. Navigable waters include rivers, canals, lakes, and any other waterways used for international or interstate trade.
You will also need to prove that your injury was caused by the negligence of the shipowner or one of its employees. This means demonstrating that the ship-owner or one of its employees failed to exercise the ordinary standard of care, which is what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances. Basically, negligence could consist of taking any decision that puts others at a foreseeable risk of harm, or a failure to do any of the following:
- Making sure the ship and its equipment are in working order
- Having policies that promote health and safety
- Hiring competent employees
- Providing medical treatment
- Avoiding unduly harsh working or climatic conditions
How Can a Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Help?
At The Krist Law Firm P.C., we are dedicated to serving Texas sailors, longshoremen, and other maritime workers who get injured on the job. Maritime towing injuries can be grizzly and put you out of work permanently. For this reason, it’s essential that you learn all of your options and protect your right to pursue damages.
We will gather all of the evidence surrounding your accident, and meticulously document all the ways in which your injury has affected your life. We will present your claim for damages in the most convincing manner possible to give you the best chances of achieving compensation for your injuries.
If you want to speak to a Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer, call us today for a free consultation at (281) 283-8500.