Working on a barge can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. From working around cranes and other heavy equipment to simply being on the water with other vessels, several issues inherently present risks for crewmembers. Florida barge injury lawyer Keith Brais knows these risks all too well.
Unfortunately, inadequate safety precautions are also a concern for many barge crewmembers. Too often, barge companies prioritize their profits over their workers’ safety. As a result, they ignore the need to perform maintenance and repairs, and they send their employees out into hazardous weather and water conditions. These mistakes increase crewmembers’ risks, and they are to blame for a significant percentage of all barge accidents in Florida.
If you have been injured onboard a barge in Florida, you have clear legal rights. As we discuss below, most barge crewmembers qualify as “seamen” under the Jones Act. This is a federal maritime law that provides special protections to individuals who work onboard vessels in navigation. Florida barge injury lawyer Keith Brais has decades of experience helping injured crewmembers recover compensation under the Jones Act. If you have a claim, we can use this experience to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Our firm represents crewmembers and families in cases involving all types of barges. We also handle cases involving all types of accidents and accident-related injuries. If you, your spouse or another loved one was involved in an accident onboard any of the following types of barges, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free consultation:
Serious and fatal barge accidents can result from a variety of different factors. While the Jones Act entitles seamen to “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits (meaning that crewmembers can file claims regardless of who is at fault for their injuries), crewmembers and families can seek additional compensation in cases involving negligence. As a result, determining the cause of a barge accident is extremely important.
When you hire our firm to represent you, Miami barge injury lawyer Keith Brais will examine all possible grounds to pursue additional compensation, including:
These and other factors can lead to all types of serious and fatal injuries. Broken bones, soft tissue damage, burns, concussions, back injuries and near-drowning injuries are all common. Regardless of the nature of your injury, or regardless of the injury that caused your loved one’s death, our attorneys will work with experts to accurately calculate your current and future losses so that we make sure we are seeking the maximum compensation available.
As a barge crewmember, it is important to know if you qualify as a “seaman.” This term has a very specific – and important – meaning under the Jones Act. If you qualify as a seaman, you can file for maintenance and cure benefits regardless of how you got injured, and you may be able to collect additional compensation if your employer is responsible for your injury.
Generally speaking, barge crewmembers qualify as seamen under the Jones Act. To qualify, you do not need to spend your days at sea. As long as you work onboard a vessel that is operating on navigable waters (i.e. a harbor, river, or marina), you should qualify for Jones Act compensation.
When seeking financial compensation under the Jones Act, the amount you can recover depends on two primary factors. These are: (i) the cause of the accident, and (ii) the costs of your injury.
Maintenance and cure benefits are available to injured barge crewmembers under the Jones Act regardless of how they got injured (with only a few very limited exceptions). These “no-fault” benefits are intended to cover injured crewmembers’ medical bills and a portion of their lost wages.
While maintenance and cure benefits are helpful – and extremely important – they do not cover all of the costs of job-related injuries. Fortunately, the Jones Act also gives injured crewmembers the right to pursue claims for negligence. If your employer was even “slightly” negligent in creating the dangerous situation that led to your injury, a Miami barge injury lawyer can help you seek full compensation for your medical needs, lost earnings, pain, and suffering, and other losses.
When seeking financial compensation after a barge accident, there is a lot you need to know. For example, here are five little-known facts about barge crewmembers’ rights:
Many crewmembers believe that they can only file a claim if someone else is responsible for their injuries. This is not the case. Even if you accidentally injured yourself at work, you are entitled to file a claim under the Jones Act.
As mentioned above, the Jones Act entitles injured barge crewmembers to maintenance and cure on a “no-fault” basis. This means that you do not need proof that your employer is to blame. All you need is proof that you got injured on the job.
Another common misconception is that crewmembers cannot file claims when they have pre-existing conditions. While your employer (or its insurance company) may try to use your pre-existing condition against you, you still have every right to collect just compensation for your work-related injury.
Standard workers’ compensation benefits for land-based workers cover medical expenses, lost wages, and certain other out-of-pocket costs. While maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act provide somewhat similar coverage, filing a negligence claim under the Jones Act affords the opportunity for eligible crewmembers to recover additional compensation.
You can lose your rights under the Jones Act if you wait too long to file a claim. To make sure you don’t lose your rights, you should speak with a Miami barge injury lawyer as soon as possible.
In most cases, crewmembers who are injured in barge accidents have rights under the Jones Act. At a minimum, the Jones Act entitles injured crewmembers to maintenance and cure benefits—which cover their medical bills and a portion of their lost earnings. If crewmembers’ injuries are the result of negligence or unseaworthiness, then they can seek additional compensation for their lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If you were injured on a barge, you should report your injury to your employer promptly. But, once you report your injury, you should avoid any additional communications with your employer until you speak with an attorney. Your employer won’t necessarily have your best interests in mind, so it will be important for you to have an experienced attorney on your side.
The amount injured barge crewmembers in Florida can recover depends on their individual circumstances. When you contact us about your case, Miami barge accident lawyer Keith Brais will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your legal rights to determine how much we think we can help you recover.
Your employer cannot legally fire you for filing a claim under the Jones Act after a barge accident. If your employer illegally retaliates against you, Florida barge injury lawyer Keith Brais will be able to help you seek additional compensation, reinstatement or other remedies.
At Brais Law Firm, we do not charge our clients anything out of pocket. Our attorneys handle all barge accident cases on contingency, so our clients pay nothing unless we win. If we help you recover just compensation under the Jones Act (or other applicable law), our legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your financial recovery.
If you need to know more about filing a claim for a barge accident in Florida, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Brais Law Firm. To speak with an experienced Florida barge injury lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can reach you online now.
I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your…
Awesome team of legal professionals!! I can't thank Mr. Brais and his team enough for helping me through the worst experience of my life. Had it not been for their dedication to seeing things through. I would be in a very bad place. I highly recommend Brais Law firm.
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