What are the Most Common Tugboat Accidents?
Tugboat workers have very physical jobs that require specialized skills. Tugs routinely negotiate harbors, tow larger ships and aid damaged vessels. These jobs all require workers to use heavy equipment and to navigate around vessels that may also be in motion. Any negligence by any other worker, boat owner or company can cause a dangerous tugboat accident. The most common maritime accidents that involve tugboats include:
- Boat collisions – Any unseaworthy or defective vessel can cause a major collision involving many boats in a crowded harbor, while navigating a waterway or under a bridge. When there is a collision, the injuries caused are almost always worse for tugboat workers who are on the smaller vessel.
- Snapped lines – The main function of a tug is to tow larger vessels using metal hawsers or cables. If these cables snap, serious injuries including amputations, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries can result. These accidents often happen when negligent companies failed to properly set up the lines/cables or use lines/cables that are not the proper for the load.
- Mechanical failure – Tugboat engineers are particularly at risk for serious injuries when the onboard machinery malfunctions. Explosions, chemical fires and electrocutions/electrical shocks can result from poorly maintained equipment. Latti & Anderson LLP obtained $2.25 million for a deck hand on a tug boat who sustained an electrical shock and suffered neurological injuries from it.
- Onboard accidents – Tugs require a lot of heavy equipment, like winches and drums. Hazards like wet surfaces, lack of safety equipment and established procedures and poor training can all cause serious accidents. Crush injuries and slip and fall accidents often result from these kinds of safety hazards.
Who is Responsible for Tugboat Accidents?
The owner of any vessel on the water is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for workers. When it comes to tugboats, this means that ship owners must regularly inspect tugs and equipment to make sure they are seaworthy. Additionally, crew members should be given proper safety training and all necessary equipment to ensure they are working in a safe place. If a ship owner neglects any of these responsibilities and an accident occurs, the owner could be liable for the damages under general maritime law for unseaworthiness. Furthermore, the crew member’s employer could be liable under the Jones Act for negligence.
According to general maritime law, all injured maritime workers are entitled to maintenance and cure if hurt on the job. This means your employer must pay your medical expenses and a daily stipend while you are recovering from your injury. However, maritime law is complicated, and sometimes negligent companies will try to deny your Jones Act claim. It can also be difficult to prove employer negligence, especially if you are still dealing with a personal injury. Therefore, after an injury from working on a tugboat, you should contact an experienced Jones Act lawyer. An attorney can explain your rights, and can stand with you against the negligent company responsible for your injuries.
Hurt on a Tug? Call Our Jones Act Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you need a Jones Act lawyer after an accident on a tugboat, contact the legal team at Latti & Anderson, L.L.P. Our attorneys practice only maritime law and have helped injured workers nationwide. We have represented tugboat workers from many east coast shipping ports as well as west and Gulf coast workers. Tugboat accidents can cause serious personal injuries that may even keep you from returning to your job permanently. Our maritime lawyers can help ease the stress these accidents can cause and can get you the compensation you deserve.