Illinois Barge Worker Seriously Injured Due to Line Break
A barge worker sustained a serious injury on June 5th when a one-and-a-half-inch-diameter barge line snapped and hit him in the head, knocking him to the ground. Rescue workers were taken to the barge in a pontoon boat, and a flat board was used to secure the injured man as he was hoisted onto a lock wall and taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was found to be in critical condition. The incident occurred just after 4 p.m. at Lock and Dam 13 in Fulton, Illinois.
Working on a barge is one of the most dangerous types of maritime work because of the presence of heavy lines required for its making up or un-facing. As was the case in the recent Fulton accident, these lines give way suddenly under pressure, resulting in serious injuries like those incurred by the man working at Lock and Dam 13. For this reason, federal maritime laws provide special protection to men and women injured on boats, tugs and barges; seamen and women are entitled to compensation for their injuries and payment for medical expenses; they may also be able to file claims for lost wages and lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, disabilities or disfigurements and loss of enjoyment of life if employer negligence or an unseaworthy vessel resulted in their injury. At the very least, under the doctrine of maintenance and cure, employers must cover an injured employee's reasonable medical expenses as well as providing a stipend for daily living necessities.
Unfortunately, when crew members are seriously injured in tug or barge accidents such as this one, employers move quickly to try to limit the amount of medical expenses and damages they will be required to pay. In many cases, insurance representatives or claims managers direct injured employees to care providers who will only advise inexpensive treatments, even when more costly procedures like surgeries are medically advisable. Because employers are working to protect their own interests, it is crucial for injured maritime workers to have a representative who will protect their health and well-being. Consulting with an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an injury at sea will help protect an injured employee's rights and also guarantee that he or she receives the best available medical care to assist with the recovery process. At Arnold & Itkin, our team of offshore injury lawyers assists injured workers in finding top-quality doctors; we can also offer loans and contingency billing to ensure finances don't stand in the way of the healing process. Contact our office today for a free consultation—we would love to advocate on your behalf in a maritime injury claim.