St. Louis Barge Accident Injury Attorneys
Workers who are injured on a barge have the right to hold their employees accountable for injuries, damages, and losses sustained. In order to pursue financial compensation from an employer, the victim must prove that the employer was negligent in some way. Our skilled St. Louis barge accident injury lawyers have a long history of successfully handling serious injury cases. We know how to hold negligent companies responsible for the injuries their workers have suffered. Call us today to find out how we can help.
The amount of compensation available through civil litigation is tied to the severity of the injuries suffered. A barge accident that results in a minor injury will likely result in a smaller settlement, but injuries that are considered catastrophic have the potential to result in a substantial settlement. An injury may be considered catastrophic if:
- It results in a long-term or permanent injury;
- It affects the victim’s quality of life;
- The victim’s ability to work or conduct normal activities is forever altered; or
- It results in a disability which is permanent.
Proving a Catastrophic Injury
A big part of the legal process of pursuing financial compensation for a barge accident injury is proving the severity of the injuries suffered. Important steps that should be taken by all injured barge workers include:
- Reporting the injury to the employer;
- Immediately seeking medical attention;
- Keeping all medical information including tests, bills, and other records;
- Writing down the extent of the physical pain and suffering you experience every day as a result of the injury; and
- Monitoring the financial losses sustained during the healing process.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries Suffered in Barge Accidents
Not all serious injuries are considered catastrophic. Many injuries can heal over time and the victim’s quality of life will return to normal eventually. An injury that is considered catastrophic may involve:
- Brain injury that affects the victim’s memory, physical ability, personality, or speech;
- Multiple bone fractures that will never fully heal;
- Back injury involving spinal cord damage or extensive vertebrae damage;
- Eye injury resulting in loss of vision in one or both eyes;
- Hearing injury that results in loss of hearing; and
- Amputation of limbs.
Barge Accident Head Injuries
The symptoms suffered by barge accident head injury can be long lasting and life changing. There are, unfortunately, many different ways in which barge workers can suffer a head injury. The work is often hard, physically demanding, and treacherous. Barge workers who suffer head injuries may seek financial compensation for their losses through civil litigation, but the process can be complex and challenging. It would be in the best interest of barge workers who have suffered major or catastrophic head injuries to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable and skilled Missouri personal injury attorney.
How Head Injuries Occur on a Barge
Head injuries are common on barges for a number of reasons. Barges are often wet and slippery, and these types of conditions can lead to slip-and-fall accidents. Workers may also suffer head injuries if they are required to work on a ladder or at an elevation or when loading and unloading cargo. Falling debris and improperly loaded cranes can also put everyone on the barge at great risk.
Symptoms of Head Injuries
There is a wide range of symptoms that can be suffered in a head injury accident. Here are some of the most common symptoms of head injuries, depending on where the injury occurs:
- Cerebellum: If the barge worker falls backwards or is struck in the back of the head by swinging cargo from a crane, the victim may sustain damage to his or her cerebellum. Resulting symptoms include tremors, dizziness, and the loss of the ability to walk.
- Brain stem: Damage to the brain stem can occur in the most violent of collisions. Symptoms of brain stem injuries include issues with crucial functions such as breathing, balancing, and swallowing.
- Temporal lobes: When someone sustains a blow to the side of their head, they may damage their temporal lobes. Resulting symptoms include memory issues and aggressive behavior.
- Occipital lobes: A sudden and violent blow to the back of the head may result in damage to the occipital lobe. This may cause partial or complete loss of vision.
- Parietal lobe: When someone is struck on the top of his or her head near the back, the parietal lobe may be damaged. Victims of parietal lobe damage may have trouble performing functions such as reading, drawing, and writing.
- Frontal lobe: When a barge worker is shaken violently or struck in the front of his or her head, there may be damage to the frontal lobe. Victims of frontal lobe accidents may suffer from paralysis or changes in social behavior.
Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many ways in which barge workers can suffer back injuries. While most back injuries require rest and physical therapy, some may have long-term effects that alter the victim’s quality of life. In the most severe barge accident injuries, victims may suffer spinal cord damage that alters their mobility and physical abilities in a permanent manner. Depending on the cause of the barge accident, victims may be able to hold their employers accountable for injuries, damages, and losses sustained.
Spinal Cord Damage
Working on a Missouri barge is demanding and potentially dangerous. Here are a few examples of how a barge worker may suffer a spinal cord injury:
- Operator error: Barges and tugboat operators are responsible for navigating the waterways safely. Collisions can be caused by operators who are distracted, fatigued, inadequately trained, or negligent.
- Crane accident: In order to load and unload heavy cargo, it is common for barge workers to operate large and heavy cranes. Crane collapses, falling objects, and debris can cause serious spinal injuries on barges.
- Falls: It is common for barge workers to suffer back injuries in slip-and-fall accidents because of the wet conditions. If the worker lands awkwardly or twists his or her back during the fall, there is the potential for a serious back injury.
- Cargo accidents: When a heavy object falls on a worker, there is the potential for a debilitating back injury. Barge workers are particularly at risk for a spinal cord injury if heavy cargo drops on their head and crushes their neck.
- Towing winch accidents: Towing winches are often used to help pull barges through the water, but can be very dangerous to anyone nearby. Barge workers who are pinned by tow cables may have their spinal cord twisted or crushed.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
The symptoms suffered by victims of barge accidents depend on the location of spinal cord damage. In the most severe spinal cord injuries, the victim experiences loss of feeling or sensation below the site of the damage. Victims of severe spinal cord injuries in their lower back may lose their ability to use their legs while maintaining use of their torso and arms. This type of injury is called paraplegia. Victims of spinal cord injuries in the neck area may become quadriplegic. There have been substantial advancements made in the treatment of spinal cord injuries, but it is still common for these types of injuries to require costly treatment and extensive rehabilitation.
Medical bills and therapy expenses after a broken bone accident can add up very quickly. In the case of a broken bone injury, victims are first taken to an emergency room, where the fees can be steep. The doctor will probably want to get an x-ray done in order to diagnose the injury and in serious injury cases, an expensive MRI or CAT scan may be required as well. Once the doctor has an understanding of the injuries suffered, he or she will have to determine if surgery is needed to repair the broken bone. In some cases, the swelling around the injury is so bad that the victim will have to return to the hospital for additional treatment. Return visits, tests, surgeries, and physical therapy fees can add up quickly. As long as the broken bone injury resulted from work-related activity, the victim may be able to seek financial compensation for all medical expenses and lost wages.
The Jones Act and Claim Compensation
Missouri workers injured in a barge accident have the right to hold their employer accountable for the losses suffered because of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. To receive compensation for a barge accident, the victim will have to prove that the employer’s negligence contributed to the incident. A skilled Jones Act attorney will know how to determine liability for the accident and how to seek fair compensation for the damages and losses sustained by the injured worker.
St. Louis barge injury attorneys at Page Law have a long history of helping clients secure the compensation they need and rightfully deserve. Call our offices today for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.
Barge Accident Equipment-Related Injuries
One of the reasons working on a barge can be dangerous is because of the many large and powerful pieces of equipment that are used. It is crucial that barge equipment and tools are properly maintained, that workers are properly trained, and that the appropriate safety devices are provided. Barge workers who are injured in equipment-related accidents will have to prove that negligence was a contributing factor in the incident. A skilled Missouri Jones Act attorney can help the victim prove liability for the accident and hold the at-fault party accountable for the injuries suffered.
Cranes are commonly used on worksites to move heavy cargo from the dock to the barge and back again. These huge machines have the potential to do immense damage as the items it carries can accidentally be dropped from the crane onto workers down below and cranes can collapse under intense weight. Many of these types of accidents can be prevented. In order to prevent injuries, it is crucial that:
- Crane operators are properly trained and supervised;
- Loads do not exceed the limitations of the specific crane used;
- Heavy materials are loaded evenly and properly secured;
- Workers below and near cranes are adequately warned;
- Hard hats are provided to all workers near a crane; and
- Cranes are properly maintained.
Towing Winch Accidents
Barge winches are designed to speed up tow makeup and breakdown. These useful pieces of equipment can easily cause a serious injury if a worker uses it wrong or gets a hand caught in it. Winches on barges have been linked to devastating crushing and amputation accidents.
Bow Thruster Accidents
Bow thrusters use propellers to help maneuver barges in the water and have been linked to life-changing laceration accidents on barges. Workers must keep their distance from working thrusters and operators must be properly trained on safety precautions.
Tow Wire and Bridle Line Accidents
A fatal barge accident can occur when errors are made with tow bridles. When towing lines become taut, it is crucial that all workers are a comfortable distance out of the way. Barge workers can be easily crushed under the force of a cable or line that is towing a barge. Victims who survive these types of accidents may suffer an amputation or serious laceration injury.
Unsafe Ladder Accidents
Ladders are commonly used on and around barges as well. It is very important that metal ladders have proper grips to prevent slipping, that workers do not stand on the top rung of a ladder, and that proper supervision is given when a worker is high up or lifting heavy materials.
Seeking Compensation for a Missouri Barge Accident
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as The Jones Act, covers injury accidents that occur on the water. This means that instead of filing for workers compensation insurance, injured barge workers need to prove that their employer’s negligence was a contributing factor in the accident.
The St. Louis Jones Act lawyers at our firm know how to prove liability for such workplace accidents. We will examine all aspects of your case and ensure that you and your family receive just compensation. If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries in a Missouri barge accident, please contact us to discuss your case at absolutely no cost.