Crewmembers on barges and other maritime vessels may not think that they’ll ever have to hire a maritime injury attorney. Unfortunately, when an accident happens, your employer and the insurance companies involved may not have your best interest in mind. Take, for example, an accident on the Mississippi River a couple of years ago.
At about 5:00 PM on June 9, 2012, the Marguerite L. Terral was towing 12 empty barges down the Mississippi River in the vicinity of Hickman, Kentucky. Just a few minutes later, a fire broke out in the port engine. The 6 crewmembers on board weren’t able to extinguish the fire before they had to evacuate the Marguerite L. Terral and the barges it was pushing.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, and the accident did not cause any pollution to the river or the surrounding area. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the accident, but could not determine the cause of the accident, which had caused about $2.6 million of damage to the towing vessel.
According to NTSB – though the exact cause of the accident couldn’t be determined – the crewmembers’ inability to contain the fire, shut off ventilation, and effectively put the flames out with onboard fire suppression equipment contributed to the damage. This statement, alone, is reason to hire a maritime injury attorney.
The NTSB’s conclusions (as inconclusive as they may be) point to the crew being at fault for the extent of damage done by the accident. Their employer could very well terminate their employment, based on this accident.
Hiring a maritime injury attorney, like those employed at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP, could be the crewmembers’ only hope of recompense if they are wrongfully fired or suspended. If this fire was caused by a lack of maintenance, they may even be owed worker’s compensation for the trauma and danger involved in dealing with this emergency, trying to put out the flames, and evacuating the other barges.