If you are injured in your river based employment, the first step in protecting yourself is to contact an experienced attorney who regularly practices Jones Act, General Maritime Law and Longshore cases. Steven Schletker is licensed in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. He is an experienced attorney who focuses on representation of Jones Act seamen, deckhands, engineers, mates, tow boat crew members and Longshoremen injured on the Ohio River, Lake Erie, Kanawha and other inland waterways and docks. He handles Ohio River and tributary river cases from Paducah, Kentucky to Parkersburg, West Virginia. He has represented numerous injured workers along Lake Erie ports from Toledo, Ohio to Conneaut, Ohio.
The Jones Act and General Maritime Law provide a full complement of damages if the injured worker can prove the employer was negligent and that said negligence (even to the slightest degree) caused the injury. If an injured river worker establishes the employer was at fault or the vessel to which he/she was assigned was unseaworthy, potential damages include lost wages, reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, future medical expenses and compensation for pain and suffering. Tow boat and dock workers from the Marietta area appreciate the difficulties that come not just from their line of work but also from local weather and river current conditions.
Life in Marietta, Ohio has long been focused upon industry on and near the Ohio River. Surveyed in 1770 by George Washington, Marietta, Ohio was the first American settlement in the Northwest Territory. Named for Queen Marie Antoinette as tribute for her help during the Revolutionary War, Marietta is the county seat of Washington County. Marietta has a population of about 14,000.
Situated at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, tracts of fertile land were given to soldiers as payment for service in the Revolutionary War. Modern settlement began in 1788 with the arrival of General Putnam. River related industry has existed in Marietta dating back to the late eighteenth century. Indigenous peoples have been in the area for centuries and constructed the Conus or Great Mound. The Great Mound survives to this day inside Mound Cemetery, where 24 Revolutionary War officers are buried.
Marietta’s prime location at the joining of two rivers enhanced its industry and commerce. It is home to the first grist and saw mills in the Northwest Territory and a boat building business. Marietta’s river traditions are preserved by the nearby Ohio River Museum and an organization called the Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen. Locals do their part to stay in touch with the river with events like the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, championship power boat racing at the Marietta Riverfront Roar and rowing regattas on the Muskingum River.
Marietta, Ohio is a great place to work. The city’s cost of living and unemployment rate are low, compared to the rest of the state of Ohio and the United States as a whole. 65% of Marietta’s residents work within the city limits. Marietta workers provide a skilled workforce to regional tow boat companies, docks and landings along the Ohio River. Given the nature of tow boat labor and harsh weather conditions in which crew members work, injuries occur. When a worker is injured he/she often finds the employer unwilling to cover medical bills or provide full wage reimbursement. Few employers pay an injured tow boat worker’s wages while they are off. Many river employers opt to pay maintenance only, rather than fully replace wages. Maintenance is based upon the right of a crew member to food and lodging if he/she falls ill or becomes injured while in service to the ship. This rate is not based upon a worker’s wages. Maintenance for inland river workers in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky is typically paid in the $25.00 - $40.00 per day range by river employers. While a river worker collects maintenance payments without having to prove the employer at fault, the amount of maintenance per day is far too low to sustain a reasonable lifestyle in the Marietta area.
To protect your rights and secure the full array of damages, you should consult with an experienced maritime lawyer such as Steven Schletker. If you are injured within the scope of your employment on or near the river, there are steps that need to be taken to protect your rights. Feel free to contact Steven Schletker at 800-254-7487. Steven Schletker will perform an initial evaluation of your river injury case free of charge. If the consultation results in a claim being filed against the river company, a fee will be owed only if the case is successfully prosecuted.