We Help Injured Barge Crewmembers and Grieving Families Recover Just Compensation After Accidents on the Water

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.

Your Rights as an Injured Barge Crewmember 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 Florida Barge Injury Lawyers Handle Cases Involving All Types of Barges, Accidents and Injuries

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:

  • Barracks Barges
  • Construction Barges
  • Crane Barges
  • Deck Barges
  • Hopper Barges
  • Inland Barges
  • Liquid Mud Barges
  • Ocean Barges
  • Shale Barges
  • Spud Barges

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:

  • Collisions involving docks, day markers, pipelines and other fixed objects
  • Collisions involving other vessels
  • Failing to adequately maintain the barge or perform necessary repairs
  • Failing to follow safety protocols (including failure to have lifesaving equipment onboard)
  • Hiring an unqualified captain or inexperienced crew members
  • Mechanical and electrical failures onboard
  • Sending barges into hazardous weather or water conditions

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.

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Are You a “seaman” if You Work on a Barge?

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.

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How Much Can Injured Seamen Recover After Barge Accidents?

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.

5 Little-known Facts About Barge Crewmembers’ Rights

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:

You Can File a Claim Regardless of How You Got Injured

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.

You Don’t Need Proof that Your Employer is to Blame

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.

It Doesn’t Matter if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

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.

You May Be Entitled to More Than Standard Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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.

There is a Time Limit to Assert Your Legal Rights

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. 

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FAQs: Filing a Claim for a Barge Accident in Florida

What are Crewmembers’ Rights After a Barge Accident in Florida?

If I Was Injured on a Barge, Should I Report My Injury to My Employer?

How Much Can I Recover if I was Injured Working on a Barge in Florida?

Can I Get Fired for Filing a Claim Under the Jones Act After a Barge Accident?

How Much Does a Florida Barge Injury Lawyer Charge?

What are Crewmembers’ Rights After a Barge Accident in Florida?

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 I Was Injured on a Barge, Should I Report My Injury to My Employer?

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.

How Much Can I Recover if I was Injured Working on a Barge in Florida?

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.

Can I Get Fired for Filing a Claim Under the Jones Act After a Barge Accident?

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.

How Much Does a Florida Barge Injury Lawyer Charge?

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.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation with a Florida Barge Injury Lawyer at Brais Law Firm

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.

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury

"I was in pain for a good 6 months, it was just a nightmare. It wasn't until I got Mr. Brais that I really started getting the help I needed from the doctors. You need somebody you can trust, somebody to give you some guidance. They stuck in there with me the whole way."

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"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 Maritime case!!!"

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Tug & Barge Crew Member Death

"I just thought he [Mr. Brais] was the man to do it. I felt comfortable with him being by my side. The pain my family has suffered has been immeasurable, but he was there with me. It’s not just him, it’s his team also. Keith really stood up for my son. I know I made the best choice."

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"I was in an accident where I was struck by a boat and boat propeller. The Brais Law Firm represented me in a very professional manner. I am very satisfied with the service and support I received from the firm and happy with the results they achieved. I recommend Keith Brais and his firm to anyone needing representation related to a maritime personal injury."

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