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Company denies liability in Texas barge worker's lawsuit

In 2010, a Texas maritime worker sued the companies he was working for after he allegedly sustained major injuries in an accident on a barge. The worker said that as was disembarking from the ported barge he had been working on, the handrail gave way, causing him to fall to the dock below.

Moreover, the worker said he had been taking samples of a flammable chemical while aboard the ship, and when he fell, he landed on broken glass and the dangerous liquid. The maritime accident occurred in April 2009, and the worker brought suit against Chevron Pipe Line and Florida Marine Transporters in September of the next year in Jefferson County District Court.

The personal injury lawsuit accuses the defendant companies of negligently failing to provide the worker with a safe workplace and putting him in imminent danger by failing to inspect the premises. The lawsuit demanded damages for past and future mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages and physical pain. Punitive damages were also asked for.

In June, Florida Marine Transporters argued that it had no duty to the worker and could not be held liable for his injuries because the worker was not a Florida Marine employee. Florida Marine also argued that the worker was not a Jones Act seaman at the time of the incident.

Instead, Florida Marine argued that the injured worker's only remedy was through the Longshore Act, which essentially provides workers' compensation benefits to maritime workers who are not seamen.

It will be up to the court to decide if Florida Marine is off the hook, or if the issue needs to go to trial.

As you can see, when a worker is injured on the job, it's sometimes difficult to hold responsible parties liable without a fight. This is why many injured workers hire a personal injury attorney to help them with the process and get them the compensation they are entitled to.

Source: The Southeast Record, "Florida Marine seeks summary judgment in barge worker's suit," David Yates, Oct. 27, 2011.

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