Seaman seeks compensation, payments in barge-injury claim

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 28, 2008, 1:50am

A barge worker on the Mississippi River who claims he permanently injured his hip on the job has sued Teco Barge Line for failing to provide a safe working environment.

Joshua Parker says he sustained serious and permanent injuries to his right hip during the performance of his duties on March 15, 2006 while the vessel was in navigation. Parker is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000 plus costs.

Parker claims Teco breached its statutory duties imposed by the Jones Act by failing to provide him with safe tools and equipment, sufficient and competent assistance and competent supervision and training.

The Jones Act, a federal statute covering all water-vessel employees, allows injured sailors to claim damages from employers. Unlike worker's compensation, claimants must prove fault or negligence by the ship's owner, captain or crew members to receive compensation.

Parker claims his hip injury caused and will continue to cause him to lose wages, experience pain and suffering, caused a disability and obligated him to pay large sums of money in medical expenses.

In addition, Parker claims he has not yet reached a point of maximum cure and is seeking at least $40 per day for 'maintenance', a form of wage replacement. Under the Jones Act, injured workers are entitled to maintenance and 'cure' (medical assistance) regardless of fault.

The case has been assigned to District Judge G. Patrick Murphy. Joshua Parker is being represented by Marc Parker of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

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