Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on April 22nd, 2013,
by Zane Cagle

104 Barges Break Free and 11 Sink in the Mississippi River- St. Louis

Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Zane Cagle

While most of us were sleeping early Sunday morning, there was quite a bit of action on the Mississippi River. In fact, the J.B. Bridge had to be shut down for several hours as a precautionary measure because several barges had hit it.

According to FOX 2, the barges were parked in groups and one barge broke loose and then bumped into another barge, then another. According to J.B. Marine, barges knocked into barges and created a domino effect, much as a rear end car accident can cause a chain reaction if it occurs at a stop light or stop sign.

Once the barges broke loose, it was further complicated by the fact that the river is running high and fast and this allowed the barges to travel very quickly downstream. In fact, several traveled as far as the Meramec River.  Right now, they estimate that as many as four barges hit the J.B. Bridge. The bridge is designed to be able to absorb those kinds of hits, but MoDOT did shut down the bridge for a time to do inspections.  Crews spent the day rounding up the hundred and four barges and eleven barges that sank. The river is at flood stage so vessels were quickly moving.  Barges were found as far south as Impeial.

It will be interesting to find out from the investigation the reason for the initial barge break away.  If the barges were parked in a group, then how did they become unsecured?  And, hopefully, no one on any of the barges was injured during the drift and subsequent crashes into the J.B. Bridge.  Accidents on the Mississippi River are obviously waterway accidents, however, if an employee or worker on the barge is injured because of the accident, then they are not eligible for what we generally think of as Workers’ Compensation”.  Instead, waterway employees must file a Jones Act claim.

The Merchant Marine Act was passed in 1920 to protect all types of maritime workers injured on the job. The act allows seaman to file a suit against the company of their employment in order to recover damages they sustained while on the job. Sailors are not covered under normal workers’ compensation, thus this legislation was written specifically for seaman.

If you have been injured in water accident while working on any type of vessel, you may need an attorney that thoroughly understands maritime law.  While St. Louis is not considered a coastal city, the Mississippi River is primary waterway that runs through the Midwest, thus St. Louis became the Gateway City.  In fact, our attorneys have represented many kinds of Jones Act clients who were seriously injured while working on a water vessel.  The statute of limitations is generally three years, unlike other statute of limitations such as Missouri car accidents which is five years.

After an injury, it is always wise to get yourself informed.  Take advantage that personal injury attorneys in St Louis offer free consultations. Ask our attorneys questions about the Jones Act—they should be able to specifically explain it. If not, then they do not practice in the area of Jones Act and you should keep looking for a personal injury attorney that has a lot of experience with Jones Act cases. Our attorneys do know a lot about Jones Act cases and we pride ourselves in helping injured persons get the compensation they desire. Call The Cagle Law Firm where we are available 7 days a week to answer your questions: toll free (314) 276-1681.