Tug boats are an essential part of getting food and other goods to markets in the United States and all over the world. Tug boats are designed for power and not for sailor safety. Every year thousands of people are injured in tug boat accidents. Because of the nature of the work, many of the injuries tug boat crews suffer require time off of work and expensive medical treatments. Tug boat work is different from many other types of jobs. If you have been injured in a tug boat accident you may have a right to compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes and Types of Tug Boat Accidents
Most tug boat accidents are caused by negligence. When people do not do what they are supposed to do and it causes injuries, it is a type of negligence. If people are not following safety rules or their actions create an unsafe situation, this is also a type of negligence.
Some common types of tug boat accidents include:
- Falling overboard
- Falls on slick decks
- Defective equipment
- Unsafe crew levels
- Separation of towlines
- Falls from ladders
- Impaired crewmembers
- Improperly maintained equipment
- Failure to create a safe environment
- Encouraging workers to take shortcuts
- Falling cargo
- Failure of shackles or heavy lines
Many of the injuries that are caused by the negligence of others can leave a sailor injured forever. They may no longer be able to work on a tug boat. Some will not ever be able to work anywhere.
You will need to understand the true cause of an accident if you want to maximize your recovery. Unfortunately, sometimes tug boat owners and insurance companies do not want to cooperate with you. You will need to the help of a maritime injury lawyer to evaluate and investigate your claim.
Types of Injuries
Minor accidents happen every day on board a tug boat. It is rare that sailors don’t get a cut or bruise. But, in the case of a major accident, the injuries are usually much more serious.
Some types of injuries in tug boat accidents include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Strains and sprains
- Torn ligaments
- Ripped muscles
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Sometimes injuries from tug boat injuries are made worse because of how long it can take to get proper medical treatment. It is critical that you seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as you can. Even in cases where you do not need immediate medical treatment, you may still have significant injuries.
You may not feel the symptoms for several days as the adrenaline from the accident is still in your system. However, you should have a medical exam within 48 hours of a tug boat accident to make sure any hidden injuries are discovered and treated. The law is strict about the amount of time you have to report an injury. Failure to go to the doctor could cost you your claim.
Understanding the Claims Process
Because tug boat accidents can cause such catastrophic injuries, there is a special set of laws that govern how the claims process works. The Jones Act covers most of the crew of a tug boat. Under the Jones Act you may be able to recover damages from the owner of the tug boat. This includes payment for your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, as well as your pain and suffering.
There are strict time limits that apply to Jones Act cases. If you fail to follow all of the correct procedures in the short time window, you may lose your right to file a claim for your injuries forever.
The Jones Act is different than state worker’s compensation laws. The Jones Act is a federal law and covers all tug boat crews in any of the waters of the United States. Before you will be able to recover the full amount of damages you may be entitled to, you will need to prove:
- Your injury was job related
- Your injury was caused by the negligence of the tug boat crew or owners
- How much your injuries cost you
- How badly your injuries affected you
Because of the special nature of tug boat accidents, you need an experienced maritime injury lawyer to help you with your claim. A lawyer will know if you qualify under the Jones Act, or if you need to use a different law to recover damages. We know how difficult it can be to find the right maritime injury lawyer for your case. We want to help connect you with a tough and knowledgeable lawyer. Contact us today. Your time may be running out.