At any given moment, there are hundreds of giant, cargo laden barges moving up and down the Mississippi River and its tributaries, as well as other interior waterways in the United States. These barges are vital to our country’s economy, transporting goods between our nation’s heartlands and its coastal ports. Our tugboat and barge accident lawyers have represented deckhands, mates, tankermen, pilots, and Captains who have become injured while working onboard a tugboat, pusher, towboat or barge.
Barge & Tugboat Accident Law
Specially designed tugboats are employed to push and tow these unwieldy barges, some bigger than a football field, to their destinations. These tugs go by many names, including pushers, pushboats, pusher tugs and towboats.
Working on America’s inland waterways aboard a tugboat, pushboat, towboat or barge can be just as risky as working on the open seas. Navigating huge barges through narrow, crowded channels while avoiding bridges, docks, sandbars, rocks and other obstacles are just a few of the potentially dangerous situations a river tug’s crew face on a daily basis.
Accidents can occur at any moment, leaving a crew member with serious, even fatal, injuries. When these accidents are caused by negligence on the part of a vessel’s owner, commander or crew, federal and state laws give injured crew members the right to seek compensation from the responsible parties for the losses resulting from their injuries.
Over $1 Billion Recovered For Our Injured Clients
If you’ve worked on a vessel, you know that the maritime world has its own language and that anyone who hasn’t experienced it probably couldn’t understand how things operate in this world. Maritime law is similarly unique and needs an experienced barge accident lawyer to maximize your recovery under whichever maritime laws may apply.
Let maritime lawyers at The Lambert Firm put our extensive maritime litigation experience and vast legal resources to work for you. Pursuing compensation after a tugboat and towboat injury can be a complex undertaking. Depending on where your accident took place, a multitude of federal and state laws may apply in your case and you’ll want to make sure you get the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.Section Close DIV
Common Types of Barge and Tugboat Accidents
With over 40 years of experience, The Lambert Firm is one of the nation’s leading maritime personal injury law firms. Since our founding, we’ve recovered more than a billion dollars in compensation for clients who have been injured or killed in accidents. We’ve represented deckhands, mates, tankermen, pilots, and Captains who have become injured while working onboard a tugboat, pusher, towboat or barge due to many of the common types of accidents below.
Human error, equipment malfunction and ignoring/underestimating environmental conditions are the most common reasons why tug and barge collisions occur.
Allision is the term used to describe a vessel striking a stationary object, such as a tug or barge hitting a bridge or dock.
When a tug or barge worker falls overboard, they are at serious risk of drowning or suffering other fatal injuries. Insufficient safety protocols, unseaworthy vessels, and poor weather conditions are common reasons why these accidents occur.
When railings are poorly designed or not well maintained, tug and barge workers can suffer falls and other injuries.
From towlines to winches to life vests, if a barge or tugboat has defective or poorly maintained equipment, workers who use these tools can suffer injuries.
When too many barges are lashed together, it increases the risk of accidents that can injure workers, cause damage to other vessels and structures, and even lead to environmental damage.
Mooring lines are the thick cables used to keep a vessel tethered to a dock or terminal. Too much strain on the mooring lines can cause them to break and the two ends of the line to wildly recoil or “snap back” with high speed and force.
Fires and explosions aboard tugboats and barges are among the most serious dangers faced by workers.
Whether by inhalation or direct contact, chemical exposure can result in serious, long-term health issues for tug and barge workers.
Weather conditions can change quickly on inland waterways, and flash flooding in particular can be extremely hazardous to tugboats and barges.
Falling objects, whether tools or improperly secured cargo, are among the most common reason for head, neck and brain injuries among barge and tugboat workers.
Maritime rules and regulations are put in place to keep workers safe, as well as protect the public and environment from injuries and damages.
When barge loading and unloading plans aren’t followed, it can lead to structural failures and other accidents.
When barge and tugboat crews are not adequately trained, understaffed and overworked, it’s easy for mistakes to happen. It is the employers responsibility to ensure that workers are properly trained and equipped for their duties.