Memphis Maritime Accident Lawyers

Experienced representation for injured tugboat and barge workers in Tennessee

Here in Memphis, we are lucky to be in close proximity to beautiful inland bodies of water. Whether it’s the Mississippi River, the Tennessee River, or any of the smaller rivers in between, these landmarks not only provide natural scenery, but also an economic lifeline for our state. Working on a tugboat or barge in any capacity can be an incredibly lucrative and fulfilling occupation, but it’s not without risk. Unfortunately, any time unpredictable water and heavy machinery are brought together, danger follows and accidents can happen.

These accidents often carry catastrophic consequences. It is all too easy for a situation to go from bad to worse, and even if a victim survives an accident, they may never fully recover from their injuries. If that happens to a tugboat or barge worker due to the negligence or recklessness of another, they may be entitled to substantial compensation due to the extreme nature of these accidents. The Memphis maritime accident injury attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC can help make that happen. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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What are the common types of maritime accidents?

Accidents can happen on the water whether you are an experienced seaman or a recreational boater. Collision with another vessel was the biggest cause of maritime accidents in Tennessee during 2020. Other common types of accidents include:

  • Grounding and stranding accidents
  • Fires and/or explosions
  • Capsizing vessels
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Falling cargo
  • Crane collapses and/or defects
  • Fitting and welding accidents
  • Crushing incidents on docks and at sea
  • Slips, trips, and falls

Tugboats and barges can suffer similar problems as land-based vehicles, and for similar reasons. Machinery can malfunction, weather can cause unpredictable situations, and human error or oversight can be realized a second too late. The strong currents and deep basins of our home rivers add an extra layer of danger to any situation. What may be a harmless fender-bender on land can be a catastrophic collision on the Mississippi. Bailey & Greer, PLLC handles all manner of maritime accident claims, including those stemming from transportation accidents onshore and sexual assaults.

The role of seamen negligence in barge and tugboat accidents

One of the leading causes of barge and tugboat accidents is seamen negligence. Improper lookout causes many of these maritime accidents, especially when it involves another marine vehicle of any sort, and it is not uncommon for reckless behavior (like alcohol use) and negligence (such as operator inattention) to play a significant role as well. When you have a lack of oversight and the unpredictable, dangerous behavior of others, it only makes sense the two will clash.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, “enables seamen who have been injured at sea during the course of their employment to bring a personal injury action against their employers.” It applies only to workers on vessels which transport goods from one American port to another. Under the law, these actions can be filed in federal or state court. Under 46 U.S.C. § 30104:

A seaman injured in the course of employment or, if the seaman dies from the injury, the personal representative of the seaman may elect to bring a civil action at law, with the right of trial by jury, against the employer. Laws of the United States regulating recovery for personal injury to, or death of, a railway employee apply to an action under this section.

It is worth noting that the Jones Act, unlike other rules governing maritime law, allows an injured plaintiff the right to a jury trial.

What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is another federal law which “provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on-the-job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.”

This means that workers who get injured on docks and barges — but not necessarily on the water — are still entitled to compensation and assistance. It picks up where the Jones Act leaves off, covering all employees from longshore workers to harbor construction workers, and even some non-maritime employees who may still work on navigable water.

The Jones Act and the LHWCA work together to protect the rights and finances of all the brave, passionate people who work on our state’s beautiful rivers, and they are precisely why you should not hesitate to seek legal assistance as quickly as possible in case of an accident.

Because of just how dangerous jobs on barges, tugboats, and other vessels can be, each and every worker should know their rights in the case of an accident, especially accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries. Bailey & Greer, PLLC can help you file a claim through either of these Acts.

What are the dangers Memphis barge and tugboat workers face?

While anyone on the water in any capacity or vessel is inherently in some form of danger, those who make their living on the barges and tugboats face their own unique challenges and risks. Those risks include:

The role of “unseaworthiness” in maritime accidents

Owners and operators owe their seamen and workers a duty of care when it comes to providing a safe, seaworthy ship. When a vessel is deemed “unseaworthy,” it means there is a problem or defect that could – and should – have been corrected or repaired. Examples of unseaworthiness include:

  • Damaged or faulty equipment
  • Poorly designed or placed fixtures
  • Unsafe walkways
  • Missing or damaged safety equipment
  • Lack of safety procedures and policies
  • Missing signage

A ladder with missing rubber treads, oil on the deck of the ship, damaged and eroded rigging – all of these are examples of dangers that can make a vessel unseaworthy. So, too, can poor supervision or inadequate training. In short, any problem that can make a vessel more dangerous than it is can lead to a claim of unseaworthiness if not steps have been taken to correct that problem.

What types of maritime accident cases do we accept?

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our team of Memphis maritime attorneys understand the complexities of admiralty law in all forms. We focus on helping those who work on a barge or tugboat and are seriously injured in an accident, forcing them out of work and costing them and their families thousands in medical bills. When those accidents are caused by the negligent, reckless, or otherwise unlawful actions of another person or entity, we work with the victims to hold that party responsible and make sure they fairly — and generously — compensate our client.

What should I do if I’m hurt in a maritime accident near Memphis?

If you have suffered a serious maritime injury as a barge or tugboat worker, meaning your injuries require substantial medical care and time away from work, the Memphis maritime accident injury attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC are here for you.

Only experience and studied skill can win cases as important and involved as a maritime accident personal injury claim. Hiring an attorney means you have both of those factors on your side, fighting for your rights on your behalf while you focus on recovery, rest, and time with your family. We know how to determine and prove liability with the facts of your situation and we have the tenacity to go after the maximum compensation available.

Do not wait to have a free consultation with us to discuss your options and how we can best assist you and your family in this trying time.

Memphis Personal Injury Lawyers

Is there a Memphis maritime accident attorney near me?

Bailey & Greer, PLLC is located at 6526 Poplar Ave in Memphis. We make home and hospital visits if you are too injured to come to us. We maintain additional offices for your convenience.

Contact the Memphis maritime accident injury attorneys at Bailey & Greer today

If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury on the Mississippi or Tennessee rivers as a barge or tugboat worker, it is time to contact Bailey & Greer, PLLC. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to worry about paying us a dime until we win for you. Whatever the nature of your accident, you may have injuries that affect the rest of your life — or will affect your daily life for the foreseeable future — and we understand just how serious that is. Trust us as your experienced advocates to remove some of this new pressure in your life and renew your outlook on the future. We’re here for you in Jackson, Memphis, and all through West Tennessee. Call us today at 901-475-7434 or use our contact form to get started.

Bailey & Greer Team