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Tug Boat & Barge Crews

Jones Act

For decades, the lawyers of Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC have proudly represented the hard-working crews of tug, tow boats, and barges in Jones Act injury claims against some of the largest tug and barge companies in Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington, Alaska, the Columbia River, and the world. When you are injured and your career is at-stake, you need lawyers that work as hard as you do. We know that successful outcomes in tug crew injury cases demand hard work, creativity, and a reputation for honesty and tenacity. We accept cases on contingent fee without any up-front charges to you and offer a free case evaluation for injured tug and barge workers. Speak with one of our experienced tug and barge injury lawyers today for a free evaluation of your case at 206.624.8844.

What Benefits are Available to Jones Act Tug and Barge Seamen?

Under general maritime law, injured tug and barge deckhands, engineers, mates, and captains are entitled to maintenance, cure, and unearned wages without regard to fault. The injured tug worker needs to only show that the injury, illness, or condition arose or was aggravated while the tug worker was in the service of the vessel or barge. Maintenance is a daily stipend to cover your room and board expenses while you are receiving curative medical treatment for your injuries. For union members, your collective bargaining agreement will provide the amount of your maintenance payments. Medical cure is payment of your medical bills. Unearned wages are payment of your normal wages, including any fringe benefits or accumulated time off, that you would have earned until the end of the voyage, pay period, or contract.

Beyond payment of maintenance, cure, and unearned wages, a Jones Act tug and barge seamen is entitled to recover past lost wages, future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages if the seaman can show that negligence or an unsafe workplace caused the injury. These benefits will be important if you are seriously injured or unable to return to the industry.

Showing negligence or an unsafe workplace requires an experienced tug injury lawyer to analyze the particular facts of your case. Our nationally-recognized lawyers have decades of experience with tug injury cases, know the equipment used on tugs, understand the towing industry, and are ready to deploy the best strategy for your particular case. Over the years, we have litigated tug and barge injury cases against Foss Maritime Company, Crowley Marine Service, Dunlap Towing, Sause Brothers, and many other tug companies throughout Washington, the Columbia River, Puget Sound, and Alaska.

Working on a tug boat can be dangerous work. When injuries occur, it is usually because a proper evaluation of the hazards of the work was not done before the work began and controls were not implemented to minimize the risk of injury to the crew. Oftentimes, company safety policies are violated or overlooked. Our experienced tug injury lawyers understand the safety rules of the towing industry and know when they have been violated by the company. By understanding these rules, we are best equipped to prosecute your case and obtain the compensation necessary to make a full recovery.

What Should You Do If You Are Hurt on a Tug or Barge?
  • Report your injury immediately – You should not assume that your symptoms will resolve without medical treatment. If you fail to report the injury immediately, your employer will try to deny your claim because you did not timely report it.
  • Fill out an Incident Report – You should fill out an incident report and clearly identify what caused your injury. Be specific about the unsafe condition that led to your injury, including any unsafe equipment, unsafe process, defective appliances, violations of company policy, or other causes. Don’t shy away from identifying unsafe conditions to avoid conflict with others on the tug. Your career and livelihood could depend on an accurate accounting of the incident.
  • Get Witnesses – Find out if anyone witnessed your incident and get their contact information, including names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and addresses. Get the contact information for all crew members on the boat, even if they did not directly witness your injury. They may have important facts.
  • Get Proper Medical Treatment – You should immediately seek proper medical attention for your injury. Don’t let a supervisor talk you out of seeing a medical provider or not reporting your injury. You have a right to see a doctor of your own choosing and don’t have to take a referral to a doctor from the company. The company has an interest in sending you to doctors that they know will favorably testify for them.
  • Consult with an Experienced Tug Lawyer – Even if you think you don’t need a lawyer yet, you should consult with an experienced tug injury lawyer to better understand your rights and when legal counsel is going to be necessary. The tug companies have professional adjusters working hard on their side and, in many cases, prompt access to evidence and witnesses can make the difference between winning and losing a tug injury case. We offer a free case evaluation and pay for parking at our office.