Tugboats are much smaller compared to other vessels, yet they require loads of equipment to perform.  With such an overload of equipment, a tugboat is often overcrowded, making the vessel a prime location for accidents.

As a tugboat employee, you expect your employer to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety. Contact a maritime lawyer if you believe your injuries are the result of your employer’s negligence.

Tugboat Accident Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

BOATLAW, LLP has been a leading name in maritime law for over 40 years. We understand your concerns during these times and want to help ease the pain you are dealing with. Schedule a time to speak with us more about your case. Call 1-800-262-8529.

BOATLAW, LLP represents injured seamen in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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Common Tugboat Accidents

Tugboats have winches and hawsers used for connecting and towing ships. These lines work under a great deal of pressure and can result in severed limbs if it snaps. This is just one example of what makes a tugboat so dangerous.

Other causes of tugboat accidents include the following:

  • Falls: Due to the overcrowded nature of tugboats, slips, trips and falls are common when working aboard the vessel. Falling aboard a tugboat can result in broken bones, lacerations and falling overboard.
  • Collisions: Not all tugboat collisions are due to direct contact with another vessel. Tugboats have been known to collide with docks, piers and bridge pillars. Depending on the severity of the impact, a collision can result in severe whiplash and being thrown overboard.
  • Capsizing: Capsizing is serious, no matter the vessel. A tugboat could capsize for a variety of reasons. Mechanical failure may cause the boat to spring a leak or choppy water may flood the vessel. Tugboats are also susceptible to being pulled into the water by the force of the vessel they are towing. Capsizing often results in drowning.
  • Mechanical Failures: Tugboats are loaded with equipment such as hawser lines and multiple diesel engines. Hawser lines can snap and diesel engines can backfire, both of which can cause severe burns and broken bones.

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Types of Tugboat Injuries

Maritime injuries sustained on a tugboat can be as common as a bruise from a slip and fall to more server injuries like a severed limb from a broken line. Some of the most common injuries sustained on a tugboat include the following:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Slip and falls
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Sprains
  • Herniated disk
  • Pinch injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Chemical and fire burns
  • Drowning
  • Wrongful death

You will need more time and medical care to recover from a tugboat accident than most injuries. You should consider your right to compensation if you have been injured in a tugboat accident.

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Are Tugboat Injuries Covered Under the Jones Act?

You have a right to be compensated for injuries sustained in a tugboat accident. For tugboat injuries to qualify under the Jones Act, they must have been the result of an unseaworthy vessel or negligence by the captain, crewmember or vessel owner.

The Jones Act is similar to workers’ compensation. You will be awarded maintenance and cure, which covers everyday expenses and medical costs. To receive this compensation, you must prove you’re a “seaman.” This status can be proven in two ways: by demonstrating you have an employment-related connection to the vessel or you contributed to the mission or operation of the vessel.

Wrongful death is also covered under the Jones Act. Surviving spouses of loved ones lost in a boating accident could recover damages under the act if the death occurred on U.S territorial waters. Deaths that occur beyond three nautical miles from the U.S coast are covered by the Death on the High Seas Act.

Keep in mind the Jones Act has a three-year statute of limitations. You will need to act within this time frame if you wish to receive maintenance and cure. Failing to do so will result in losing the chance to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries.

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Additional Resources for Tugboat Accidents

The Jones Act – Follow the link provided to read through the Jones Act. The majority of the act regulates maritime commerce in the United States, but section 33 covers compensation for injuries sustained on certain vessels.

Towing Vessels | U.S Code  – Tugboats are required to follow regulation set forth by the United States Code. Vessels that fail to follow these regulations could be held accountable for your injuries. Some of the regulations tugboats must comply with include how hazardous chemicals should be stored, the necessary fire equipment and training for crewmembers.

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Tugboat Accident Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

Contact BOATLAW, LLP if you believe your employer’s negligence is responsible for your injuries. We have over 40 years of experience successfully representing injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation.

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