Maritime Law/River Accidents

Protection For Towboat Workers

Admiralty and maritime laws were written to protect people who work on a ship, tow boat or barge. If you've been injured while on the inland waterways, you may have a case.

The Jones Act

Injuries to people working on ships or towboats or barges can be pursued in many ways. One of the most common is under the Jones Act, a law passed by Congress to make work on the inland waterways and rivers safer and to compensate victims of injuries or deaths. Towboats and barges can be extremely dangerous places to work. The Jones Act provides injured mates, deckhands, engineers, cooks and pilots a remedy under maritime law against their employers for injuries arising from negligent acts of the employer or fellow employees during the course of employment on a tow boat or barge. In order to win a case under the Jones Act, proof must be shown that an employer acted negligently or failed to act in a reasonable manner that would have prevented injury. Claims brought under the Jones Act can also raise claims that a vessel was unseaworthy. Unseaworthy means that the employer has failed to provide a reasonably safe place to work. An employer may also be liable for failing to provide river workers with adequate medical care.

Who Qualifies Under The Jones Act?

In order to qualify under the Jones Act, a person must be classified as a seaman, which includes people employed on freighters, crew boats, tankers, supply boats, barges, fishing boats, tugboats, towboats, crew boats and other boats on inland waters and rivers. Those who work on fixed platforms and longshoremen are not usually classified as seamen under the Jones Act and do not qualify for Jones Act protection. There are some exceptions, so if you've been injured on a fixed platform or adjacent to the river, you still may need to contact a maritime attorney.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has been injured or has died as a result of an injury while working on the inland waterways or rivers, an experienced Jones Act attorney at Edwards & Kautz can help. For more information, contact our Paducah, Kentucky, firm at 270-908-4914 or send us an email.