HomeJones Act Settlements & Case Results4 Injured in Ship Collision Win $1.8 Million Settlement

4 Injured in Ship Collision Win $1.8 Million Settlement


wrist injury after ship collision

In February of 2016, our clients were injured in a ship collision on the Mississippi River. These four individuals were working in the hull of a large ship when it was struck by a tug on the Mississippi River.  The tug had moved too far over in trying to avoid a ship which was overtaking the tug. When the tug struck the ship, it caused our clients to sustain various injuries as they were thrown about and into the ship itself. 

Our Clients’ Injuries Left Them Unable to Go Back to Work

All four clients sustained various injuries including back injuries comprised of torn and bulging discs, a neck injury, a knee injury, and a severe wrist injury.  One client had to undergo two surgeries including a wrist fusion and a lower back surgery, both of which left him with hardware in his wrist and spine. They were all put on disability and several had to attend physical therapy to be able to perform even the lightest of activities.  

Filing a Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Claim

Because they were not considered Jones Act seamen under General Maritime Law, we filed an LHWCA claim on their behalf. We argued that the owner and operator of the tug that hit our clients’ ship was negligent for the following:

  • Failing to properly train the subject captain on the tug at the time;
  • Having an untrained and/or inexperienced captain at the wheel of the tug at the time;
  • Failing to provide proper warning to the ship and workers
  • Violating the Coast Guard Navigation Rules

Through our investigation and expert reports, we discovered that the crew of the tugboat disregarded several CFRs, including

  • Title 33 CFR 83.05 Look-out (Rule 5)
  • Title 33 CFR 83.07 Risk of collision (Rule 7)
  • Title 33 CFR 83.08 Action to avoid collision (Rule 8)

Had these rules been followed and other precautions taken, our clients would not have been injured in this accident.

Tug Company Fought Back with Limitation of Liability Act

Despite the tug company being clearly at fault for the ship collision, they tried to get out of paying for our clients’ damages in full. The tug company invoked a maritime defense known as the Limitation of Liability Act. 

In short, the tug company argued that because the accident and injuries were caused only by the negligence of the tug captain, and not through any fault of the company’s management or land-based crew, our clients should be limited to collecting at most the value of the tug which was only $500,000.  

We mounted a strong fight for our clients, arguing many complicated exceptions around the Limitation of Liability Act,  and ultimately obtained a cash settlement of $1,800,000 for our clients, along with a complete waiver of all amounts paid to our clients by workers compensation, in an amount of more than $300,000.  Added to the cash value we received for them, this totaled a recovery of more than $2,100,000 for our clients. We were very happy that our clients could move on with such a recovery that was tax-free to all of them.     


Quick Case Facts


  • Settlement Amount: $1,800,000
  • Claim Type: LHWCA
  • Injury Type: Back, Neck, & Wrist Injuries
  • Age: 28, 38, 46, & 49
  • Job Position: Laborers
  • Accident Location: Mississippi River
  • Vessel Type: Ship & Tug Boat
  • Company: Confidential


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