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Spouse of brain-damaged deckhand sues for injuries

One Florida wife seeking justice for her husband's on-the-job injuries filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Dec. 9.

In her petition before the court, the woman, who has been named curator of her brain-damaged husband, is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from defendants ABC Insurance Co., Smith Maritime Inc. and Callaway Barge Lines, Inc.

She claims that due to the defendants' negligence there were egregious violations of the Jones Act. This 1920 statute governs sailors' compensation. Plaintiff alleges that, among other negligent acts, defendants failed to provide a safe environment for work.

According to court records, her husband was working on the crew of the Elsbeth III, a marine vessel that is owned and operated by defendants Smith Maritime and Callaway Barge Lines. Last May, the deckhand was aboard the ship while it was trying to tow a barge off the riverbank. A welded D-ring reportedly broke, striking the deckhand in his head. He suffered severe and disabling brain injuries that have left him confined to a hospital ever since.

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most serious injuries one can suffer. However, the severity of the injuries can leave the accident victims too disabled to ever work or even engage in meaningful interactions with their spouses or children. Even worse, the high cost of 24-hour treatment can wipe out a family's savings and bankrupt them.

However, help is out there. As in the above case, if the injured party is no longer competent to act on his or her behalf, a spouse or other family member can be named to manage their affairs and pursue justice for them through the Louisiana civil court system.

Source: Louisiana Record, "Wife of deckhand sues Smith Maritime claiming negligence caused husband's brain injuries," Robert Hadley, Dec. 16, 2015

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