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Louisiana seaman injures back after falling off ladder

A federal court in Louisiana is set to hear a seaman's lawsuit after he hurt himself in a maritime accident. The injured maritime worker has asked for his damages, including, but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment after he says he fell off a faulty ladder on his employer's boat.

The accident happened on March 21 when the Jefferson Parish man was trying to tie off two barges and a crane. He had propped the stepladder that he was using against the side of one of the empty barges, but the ladder gave out while he was on it. The seaman landed on the deck of the crane barge and he says he injured his lower back when he fell on a piece of steel on the deck.

According to court filings, the seaman has alleged that American Tugs Inc. and Molly Lee Towing Inc. were negligent for failing to provide a safe work environment. In fact, the injured maritime worker claims that his employer forced him to work in unsafe conditions, which calls into question whether they knew of the ladder's instability or that using a ladder in that manner would lead to an accident.

The seaman has also said that the two companies did not properly train or supervise him or other employees, which constituted negligence on their part.

As we have previously covered, there is no excuse for maritime workplace accidents. Seamen, like any other Louisiana employees, should be able to work without fear that they will become injured on the job. Employers have a duty to create safe workplaces for their workers and when they fail to do so, they can be held accountable under maritime workplace safety laws, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Seaman sues after falling off of unstable ladder," Michelle Keahey, May 8, 2012

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