Louisiana Barge Accident Lawyer

An accident on Louisiana’s waterways can endanger life, limb, and property. Barges are used as transportation on the bayou, and an accident could cost you physically and financially.

When you are injured because someone else acted carelessly and want to hold them responsible in court, speak with a Louisiana barge accident lawyer. An experienced maritime injury attorney could help you understand your rights after an accident and bring your suit for compensation.

Responsibility for Barge Accidents

Barge operators must drive their boats carefully to avoid accidents and injuries to other people on the water. State law requires operators to pilot watercraft in accordance with navigation rules explained it Revised Statutes § 34:851.4, such as how to safely pass other vessels, when and how to yield right-of-way, and when to use warning signals in heavy fog.

Operators who do not follow such rules can be judged guilty of careless operation of a watercraft. A barge operator can also be charged with negligent homicide under Revised Statutes § 34:851.6 when their excessive speed or careless, reckless, or negligent operation leads to a death. Operators involved in collisions or crashes must also report the accident to law enforcement under Revised Statutes § 34:851.10.

Generally, the barge operator involved in an accident is responsible for injuries to another person because of their duty to operate their craft carefully. That responsibility also goes to the owner of a vessel under Revised Statutes § 34:851.18. An injured party who pursues compensation in a legal action with assistance from a Louisiana barge accident attorney will need to show fault to some degree.

Filing an Action for a Barge Accident

An injured person can take action against the vessel itself and ask a court to seize it under Revised Statutes § 34:802 and 34:803 with the goal of selling it to cover the costs of their injuries. After posting a bond of $250, the court can take possession of the vessel to ensure it is offered for sale. When the owner does not post a bond or petition for the release of the vessel, the court can sell it under Revised Statues § 34:811.

Taking possession of the boat guarantees the injured party some compensation when the owner does not show up or cannot be found, and the injured person can also file suit against the owner personally. They must show the owner was at fault through their negligent or otherwise unreasonable behavior in operating their barge.

Proving negligence requires four elements:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation of injuries
  • Damages

Barge operators have a duty to navigate with care or else be subject to the criminal penalties mentioned above. An injured person must prove an operator did not follow the rules of the water and breached that duty. Then, they must show that poor operation caused the accident and their injuries, which fall into categories of legally recognized damages: medical costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and the loss of a loved one could all apply.

Injured parties must ensure they bring an action fast enough and are not fully responsible for their injuries. The state enforces a one-year statute of limitations under Civil Code § 3492, and injured parties risk losing their ability to sue.

The state also assigns fault to everyone involved in an accident under a system of comparative fault described by Civil Code § 2323, but as long as the person filing the suit is less than 100 percent responsible for their injuries, they can still get damages. A Louisiana lawyer who is familiar with barge accident lawsuits could help an injured person determine whether they can still sue and for how much.

Learn More About Barge Accident Suits from a Louisiana Attorney

A Louisiana barge accident lawyer could listen to the facts of your case and help bring your action against the vessel and its owner as described above. The attorneys at Scott Vicknair do not get paid until you do, and we can bring your case all the way to trial when needed.

Call today to make an appointment where you can hear more about your options.

Scott Vicknair, LLC

Scott Vicknair, LLC N/a
New Orleans Office 909 Poydras Street,
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New Orleans, LA 70112
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Covington Office 1321 Ochsner Blvd.,
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Covington, LA 70433
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Cut Off Office 15460 W Main St,
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USA, LA 70345
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