Failure to equip a vessel with competent crew members can be the basis for an unseaworthiness claim by a maritime lawyer. A Jones Act seaman has filed a lawsuit against his employer after he sustained serious injuries during a barge accident earlier this year. According to the lawsuit, the worker was a seaman on the MV Marie M. Morgan, in January this year when the barge was involved in a collision with another barge. The impact caused a refrigerator to fall against the seaman. The seaman sustained serious injuries, including a knee injury after he was trapped against the cabinet countertop and the refrigerator. The Seaman has now filed a Jones Act lawsuit against his employer Bayou Tugs Inc. According to him, the barge accident was caused because one of his coworkers who was directing the other barge was working under the influence of an illegal drug. The Jones Act lawsuit accuses Bayou Tugs Inc., of failure to maintain a safe workplace, failure to train and supervise employees, failure to warn employees about an impending accident, failure to have a maintenance policy, failure to secure the refrigerator, and failure to conduct drug tests on all employees. The lawsuit seeks damages for the plaintiff's medical costs, pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical debilitation, disfigurement and impairment, lost earnings, maintenance and cure. A Jones Act vessel owner's responsibility towards crewmembers extends towards the hiring of skilled workers, and training and supervision of workers. If a seaman is injured because of the negligence or incompetence of a fellow crew member, then the employer can be held liable for failure to provide a seaworthy vessel. The definition of a seaworthy vessel includes not just the vessel's physical condition, but also the presence of qualified, trained and competent crewmembers. Source: Louisiana Record
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