Deckhands perform a range of tasks aboard river towboats and barges. Slippery conditions, varied duties, and the physical nature of the work make employees especially vulnerable to injury and even death. Federal law has recognized the necessity to compensate them and their families for accidents that impair their ability to work and saddle them with medical expenses.
A deckhand working in or passing through Memphis on a vessel navigating the Mississippi River has an increased chance of injury compared to other employees, including other workforces that perform physical labor. If you have experienced such an injury, a Memphis deckhand injury lawyer at the Law Offices of David E. Gordon can ease your burden by fighting to secure the compensation and support you need.
The duties of a deckhand can include building tow, performing maintenance on the boat and the barges, operating heavy equipment, docking a vessel, managing towlines, and standing watch. Performing this sort of work every day can eventually lead to slipping, physical overexertion, injuries from operating defective equipment, or death from falling overboard. While certain activities presented more risk historically than they do today, deckhands continue to work under dangerous conditions.
An injured person or family member of someone killed under these circumstances may not know what case law, policies, and legislation have been developed to address river accidents. A Memphis deckhand injury attorney can increase their awareness of the laws and determine if they have a case for compensation. When someone faces injury, pain, medical costs, and lost income, the more they know about potential sources of relief, the more they can build a strong case against the defendant.
The Jones Act allows a maritime worker who has suffered an injury, or a personal representative for a deceased worker, to file a lawsuit for damages against their employer. To qualify under the act, the worker must fit the legal definition of a seaman, which requires, among other things, spending a certain amount of time regularly aboard a vessel. Unlike many other types of cases tried under admiralty law, the Jones Act entitles a plaintiff to a trial by jury.
Under the Jones Act, a plaintiff has three years from the time of his or her accident to file a lawsuit. To prevail in a claim, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that the employer or crew acted negligently or did not maintain the towboat or barge according to regulations. If you or your loved one is a Jones Act seaman who has been injured or killed on the river, contact seasoned deckhand injury attorney Elissa M. Coombs of the Law Office of David E. Gordon for a free consultation to discuss the law, the details of the injury and the case, and the kinds of awards that could be available with the help of a local deckhand injury attorney.
The law does not force someone who earns a living as a deckhand to go without medical services or other appropriate relief when the hazards of his job leave him sick or injured. Injured or ill river workers also may be entitled to maintenance and cure while they are off the boat. “Maintenance” is a daily rate of money paid directly to the worker, and “cure” covers the payment of his medical treatment. When a river company refuses to pay the required maintenance and cure, it may have to also pay punitive damages to the injured worker. If you find yourself sick or injured and unable to return to the boat, contact Elissa M. Coombs at the Law Offices of David E. Gordon to discuss your rights to maintenance and cure.
Injuries to those who work on or around the river inevitably occur. One of the best steps in recovery you can take is learning where and how to collect compensation. Consult with a Memphis deckhand injury lawyer to ensure that you have this step covered.