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Experienced. Aggressive. Trial Lawyers.

Barge Accident Attorney

Billions Won. Representing Victims of Serious Barge Injuries.

Crew fatalities aboard towing vessels and barges have long been an industry problem. Before 2000, fatalities from barge accidents accounted for a dozen to over 20 deaths every year, hitting a peak of 29 deaths in 1997. The overall fatality rate has slowly descended, but industry-wide statistics won't help injured workers or grieving families put their lives back together.

Types of barge accidents we've investigated include:

  • Jack-Up Barges: Also known as jack-up rigs, these platforms drill oil in shallow waters.
  • Cargo Barges: These barges can carry dry bulk or liquid cargo. Liquid cargo barges often carry oil and other chemical products.

The barge accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements, much of it on behalf of maritime and offshore workers. We've been a leading authority in admiralty law for years, winning money for workers and their families in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the sinking of the El Faro, and countless other maritime accidents. Our work on behalf of barge accident victims has been widely reported, especially in recent months.

If you're looking for help after a barge injury, speak with our team. We've helped thousands of people get medical care, replace their lost income, and rebuild their lives after tragic accidents. Let us help you put your life back together.

2020 Barge Explosion in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel

Early in the morning on August 21, 2020, a dredging vessel owned by Orion Marine Group struck a submerged pipeline in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The resulting explosion and fire sunk the dredge and spread to a nearby grain elevator, injuring eight workers. Another four crew members were reported missing; two of their bodies were found the following day, after which point the Coast Guard suspended rescue efforts. The final two workers’ bodies were found when a portion of the dredging vessel, the Waymon L Boyd, was recovered from the middle of the ship channel. The cause of this barge explosion is still under investigation.

2019 Barge Accident in Houston Ship Channel

On May 10, 2019, two barges collided in the Houston Ship Channel with an outgoing ship. One of the barges capsized, and the other leaked thousands of barrels of refined gasoline product into the channel. Both barges were carrying 25,000 barrels of reformate, a highly flammable substance often mixed with gasoline to create a high-octane commercial product. It is fatal if ingested and highly toxic to marine life.

The 2017 Bouchard Barge Explosion

In October 2017, Bouchard Transportation Co. Barge No. 255 was off the coast of Port Aransas when oil vapors collecting over time ignited. The explosion killed two deckhands, one of whom has never been recovered. Witnesses reported that the barge explosion was actually made of multiple explosions.

A Coast Guard investigation later discovered the company had a history of silencing, terminating, or threatening employees who tried to report serious hazards aboard their barges. Though captains had stop-work authority, using it often led to them getting fired. The results of the investigation found that multiple barges had exhibited the same problems Barge No. 255 did, including the hazardous gathering of oil vapors. An NTSB investigation found Bouchard responsible for the hazards aboard their vessels.

Barge Accident FAQ

What injuries can result from a barge accident?

A barge accident can cause serious injuries. Some of these can be fatal. In barge collisions, fires, and explosions, for example, crew members may experience catastrophic injuries and even drowning, near-drowning, or hypothermia if they are thrown or jump from the barge. Other injuries may include severe burns, broken bones, loss of limb, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and crush injuries. Because these injuries are so severe, getting the right medical treatment and fair financial support will make all the difference for an injured worker and his or her family. That’s what we fight to accomplish at Arnold & Itkin when we represent victims of barge accidents.

What type of barge workers does your firm represent?

Our barge accident attorneys represent all types of crew members and seamen who work on barges or other maritime vessels. We also help family members of barge workers who have lost their lives in explosions, fires, and other accidents. Whether you’re a dredging operation worker, deckhand, captain, crane barge worker, pilot, or other crew member, you can count on our knowledge of maritime law as it applies to your accident. At Arnold & Itkin, we’ve recovered billions for our clients and have represented crew and family members affected by the worst maritime disasters in history. We are here to help you.

What should I do if I was injured in a barge accident?

If you were involved in any type of accident while working on a barge, get the medical care you need. You have the right to seek treatment from the doctor of your choosing, so pick the right medical facility and professional. Be sure to inform your employer of what occurred, but do not sign anything that excuses your employer from legal accountability or limits your financial recovery. Talk to an attorney about your rights in filing a Jones Act or other claim that applies to your situation, as this will help cover your medical bills, the cost of ongoing treatment, your lost earnings, loss of future income, and possibly more. You deserve the chance to rebuild and move on with your life—working with a competent legal team can help you accomplish just that.

Can I Sue for a Barge Injury?

Like any other maritime worker, barge crews are protected under maritime law. There are numerous laws under which you may sue your employer or vessel owner, including the Jones Act. Our barge accident lawyers are well-known Jones Act litigators; our familiarity with the law and what it takes to win a case has allowed us to get record-setting verdicts and settlements for our clients.

We've investigated causes of injury on barges like:

  • Equipment failure
  • Crew negligence
  • Tow winch
  • Falling overboard
  • Handling heavy lines
  • Parted tow lines

Your claim will depend on a few factors, such as the extent of your injuries, where you were injured, and whether or not you're able to return to work eventually. Whatever the circumstances of your injury, it's important that you speak with a Houston barge accident lawyer as soon as possible. We offer free consultations to explain your legal and financial options, so consider calling today.

Speak with Barge Injury Lawyers: (888) 493-1629

Our lawyers have spent our careers helping people get their lives back. We've won hundreds of results of $1 million or more, dozens of results of $10 million or more, and countless other results to do one thing: give injured or grieving people a second chance. When you've been injured through no fault of your own, the person who is at fault should pay for it. It's simple, straightforward justice.

In the end, companies will do the right thing only if we make them. If you're wondering what you're going to do next, how you'll afford your medical care, how you'll pay for basic needs without being able to work, we have answers. More than that, we have a solution that could help you get everything you need to provide for your family and move forward. Call us for a free consultation to learn more.

Call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online to learn your legal and financial options.

Our firm proudly serves clients nationwide, including throughout Texas and the entire Gulf Coast, including Brownsville, Pasadena, McAllen, Edinburg, Mission, Weslaco, Rio Grande City, Hidalgo, Port Lavaca, Roma, and the surrounding areas. Call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $29Million The Largest Known Settlement for a Wrongful Death Offshore Kurt Arnold, Jason Itkin, and Cory Itkin successfully secured a record settlement for a single family who tragically lost a loved one. It is the largest known settlement for a death that occurred offshore. While a settlement is not an admittance of responsibility, our firm was pleased that the company was willing to provide fair compensation to the family of their employee without a fight.
  • $14Million Jones Act Settlement Reached Two Days Before Trial Arnold & Itkin represented a seaman after he suffered a head injury on the Hercules 15 inland barge. Hercules employees tack welded a three foot pipe to the derrick and then forgot to remove it before starting drilling operations. The pipe was jarred loose and hit Plaintiff in the head, causing severe injury. We presented his case under the Jones Act against Hercules, who chose to settle just before trial.
  • $11.5Million Settlement Won for Injured Victim of Offshore Accident Arnold & Itkin obtained a settlement of $11.5 million on behalf of an offshore accident victim suffering from both physical and psychological injuries. His settlement will ensure that our client gets all the time, financial support, and stability he needs to fully recover and get back on his feet.
  • $8.9Million Settlement Achieved for Severely Injured Seaman Arnold & Itkin helped secure a settlement on behalf of a seaman who injured his head when working aboard an offshore drilling vessel. Our firm helped to recover $8.9 million on his behalf.
  • $8Million Massive Settlement Reached Before Trial Began Our firm represented an offshore worker (a steward) who seriously injured his back in an accident. The injury prevented him from making a living. While other lawyers told him his case was only worth a few hundred thousand dollars, our attorneys knew better. Due to intense negotiations by the firm, Arnold & Itkin was able to obtain a settlement for $8 million from his employers.
  • $7.2Million Millions Won for Brain-Injured Client in Louisiana Arnold & Itkin recovered more than $7 million in a settlement for a severely injured Louisiana client. Our client suffered brain injury and memory issues while working on an offshore platform. The defendant settled his case during jury selection, and our client now has the money he needs to receive quality medical care for the rest of his life.
  • $7.1Million Concussed Worker Received a Massive Settlement after Accident Arnold & Itkin represented an offshore worker with a concussion and a herniated disk from an accident on the job. These injuries inhibited our client’s ability to make a living, requiring him to pursue a claim. His employers eventually resolved the case by settling for $7.1 million.
  • $6.9Million Settlement Obtained for Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died offshore. Though the defendant attempted to get away with an extremely low offer, our team obtained a settlement that was many times larger.
  • $6.6Million Settlement Obtained for Wife & Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin helped a woman and her family get justice after her husband was killed in an incident offshore. Despite undue pressure from the defendant, our firm made sure our clients were taken care of for the rest of their lives.
  • $6.5Million Settlement Secured for Injured Crew Member on Barge Arnold & Itkin obtained a seven-figure settlement for an offshore worker who was injured off the coast of Florida while working in needlessly dangerous conditions. His settlement will help him move forward after irreparable damage was done to his head and face.
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“What I feel is that he never considered me as a number, never looked at me as a number. He looked at me as a person, as an individual who needs help, who needs guidance.” - Mildred Solar Cortes