What happens after an accident on a barge or tugboat?

An accident that occurs while working on a tugboat, barge or other vessel can be devastating and may result in painful injuries. After an injury occurs, it is crucial that you report it to your supervisor. If the injury prevents you from returning to work or getting another job, you need to contact a maritime attorney.

Investigators and attorneys will be contacted after a maritime accident.

The maritime industry is notorious for trying to blame someone else for an accident involving a worker. Vessel owners, employers and third parties do not want the liability of a Jones Act lawsuit. Investigators and lawyers will be employed to build a case in their defense. In order to prove that the company is not responsible for your injuries, the following activities will take place:

  • The accident scene will be documented
  • Evidence will be secured
  • Witnesses will be interviewed
  • Recorded statements will be obtained
  • Affidavits will be taken

When a barge injury or tugboat injury is serious, the company will act even faster. Lawyers are commonly used to conduct the investigation so that the defendant can say the evidence is privileged and confidential. Defense attorneys will claim privilege when the evidence shows that the company was at fault for the accident.

An investigator may contact you after an injury to hear your recollection of the event. Many times the investigator will record the conversation and your statement could end up being used against you.

Your employer may send you to an approved doctor.

Some of the big maritime employers have their own approved doctors and they may tell you that you have to be treated by one of these medical providers. The employer will often communicate with the approved doctor to learn details of your medical condition. The physician may even discuss his plans to get payment approval with your employer. As an injured maritime worker, you have the right to choose your own doctor and you also have the right to a second opinion. You are also not required to sign a blank medical release to allow open discussions with your doctor.

The company may try to settle with you.

Occasionally, your employer or other responsible party may contact you to inform you that they want to negotiate a settlement. You may be asked during the meeting how much you are willing to accept to settle your injury claim. Even if you give a reasonable figure in which you would be willing to settle, you may be told that the amount is too high. Often injured workers end up accepting an amount equal to only 10 to 25 percent of what their case is really worth. That is why you need to have an experienced maritime lawyer on your side looking out for your best interests.

You should consider hiring a maritime attorney after your accident.

The laws that govern the maritime industry are complex, but a maritime attorney can make sure that your legal rights are protected. The Willis Law Firm has represented hundreds of injured maritime workers and their families. Contact a maritime attorney today and learn more about your legal options.