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Texas worker sues employer after barge fall

In May of 2009, a Beaumont, Texas, woman working for Oil Tanking Beaumont Partners walked across a deck and bridge to board a barge owned by the company. However, the bridge gave way, causing the woman to plummet down to the water, striking the deck and the barge on the way down.

The worker has now sued Oil Tanking Beaumont Partners Jefferson County District Court, claiming that the company is liable for her injures and losses because it had installed the faulty gateway to the barge that led to the accident that left the worker severely injured.

According to the complaint filed in court, the worker is seeking damages for her medical costs, pain and suffering, sustained physical impairment and mental anguish, and lost wages and earning capacity.

Unfortunately, accidents like this are more common than they should be when it comes to work performed on barges, drilling vessels and other maritime environments. Employers need to take all of the reasonable steps necessary to prevent their workers from being hurt on the job, and if they don't, they must pay the consequences.

The worker in this situation could have been killed when she fell from the gateway to the barge in 2009. Luckily, she survived, but she sustained serious injuries that appear to be permanent and will forever impact her ability to do her job.

If you have been hurt while working at sea or on a docked barge, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer or your state's workers' compensation program. Contact a lawyer licensed to practice in your state to find out more.

And remember, there is a fixed period of time during which you must bring the claim after the accident, known as the "statute of limitations," in both Texas and Louisiana, so act fast.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Woman claims faulty walkway caused fall onto barge," 6/13/2011.

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