Let a Dredge Accident Attorney Help You Pursue Compensation After an Injury
A dredge is a vessel or machine that is used to scrape and remove gravel, sand or sediment and other materials from the bottom of a water or sea bed. There are many different types of dredges that perform various tasks, including suction dredges, dredge barges, submersible dredges, fishing dredges, clam shell dredges and mechanical bucket dredges. Dredges and other heavy equipment, such as cranes and backhoes, are essential in maritime construction projects including the building of new bridges and piers. Dredging operations also play a critical role in providing ships and boats with access to harbors, rivers, bays, ports, sea channels and other waterways. Working on a dredge can be very dangerous. An accident on a dredge can lead to very serious injuries, and a worker would need to contact a dredge accident lawyer to ensure that they receive all possible compensation.
Crew members and other workers can suffer serious harm and even die in a dredge accident. These kinds of accidents involve all types of injuries, including:
- Slip and falls caused by spills, debris and slippery conditions
- Neck and back strains and other injuries from heavy lifting
- Amputations and paralysis
- Head injuries
- Equipment accidents, including burns and electrocutions
- Falls due to inadequate railings or lack of proper safety devices
- Many other injuries resulting from the negligent acts of the employer, vessel owner and other parties
Leading Causes of Accidents and Injuries During Dredging Operations
Accidents involving suction dredges, dredge barges, submersible dredges, and other vessels can result from a variety of different causes. While some of these accidents will be minor or involve “near misses,” many dredging accidents result in severe injuries for the workers involved. If you have been seriously injured on the job, you will need an experienced dredge accident lawyer to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Some of the most common causes of serious accidents and injuries during dredging operations include:
- Vessel, Equipment and Machinery Malfunctions – Malfunctions due to defects and inadequate maintenance are among the leading causes of dredging accidents. When a malfunction happens unexpectedly, it can present extreme risks for workers onboard the vessel as well as those involved in other aspects of the dredging operation.
- Miscommunication – Miscommunication is another leading cause of dredging accidents. This includes miscommunication between coworkers as well as between companies and their employees.
- Inadequate Safety Measures – Strict adherence to safety protocols is essential for protecting workers’ safety during dredging operations. When companies cut corners to save costs, their employees often end up paying the price.
- Collisions Between Vessels – Collisions between vessels involved in dredging operations can lead to various types of injuries. Collisions with recreational vessels and commercial vessels not involved in dredging operations present similar risks, and workers can get hurt when they fall on deck, collide with objects on deck, or fall overboard.
- Undersea Collisions – Collisions with undersea objects present similar risks for dredge workers. These collisions can involve artificial and natural reefs, pilings, shipwrecks, lost cargo, and various other undersea hazards.
- Slips, Trips and Falls – Working onboard a dredging vessel also presents risks for slips, trips and falls. Whether you slipped and hurt your wrist or you fell overboard in dangerous seas, an experienced dredge accident attorney can help you seek just compensation.
Of course, there are many other ways that dredge workers can suffer injuries on the job. Since compensation is available on a “no-fault” basis, you can seek benefits regardless of how you got injured (with very few exceptions). In many cases, injured dredge workers can file fault-based claims as well, and doing so allows for the recovery of additional compensation for your loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other losses.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Dredging Accident
If you have been injured in a dredging accident, you will need to promptly report your injury to your employer. You will also need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Once you see a doctor, your next step should be to consult with a dredge accident lawyer about your legal rights.
In most cases, workers injured in dredging accidents will be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. But, there are also other options, and you will need to work with an experienced dredge accident attorney to make sure you are seeking the maximum compensation available.
Jones Act Claims for Dredge Workers
When a maritime worker is injured in an accident involving dredging operations, the worker may be entitled to legal protection under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that gives injured seaman the right to collect certain benefits from their employers. If a maritime employee is classified as a seaman under the Jones Act, the worker will be entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits from his employer. Maintenance and cure benefits are similar to state workers compensation insurance programs in that the employer must compensate the injured dredge worker for his or her daily living expenses (“maintenance”) and reasonable medical expenses (“cure”) regardless of who may be at fault for the accident.
Unlike traditional worker’s compensation programs, if negligence is involved, the injured dredge worker will be permitted to file a lawsuit against the employer to recover damages similar to those in a personal injury case, including lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical care and treatment, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and mental anguish.
If the company that owns the dredge is a different company from the employer, the injured seaman may also be able to file a legal claim under General Maritime Law against the dredge owner. These types of legal actions are known as “unseaworthiness claims” and give injured maritime workers the right to recover damages from vessel owners when a vessel or any of its equipment is unsafe or unfit for its intended use.
A Dredge Accident Lawyer Can Help You Determine if You Have a Claim
If you have been injured in a dredging operation in a bay, port, river, coastal area, channel or other body of water, it is essential to seek proper legal advice as quickly as possible. Injured workers often are confused by the law and mistakenly think that they do not have a legal claim. The Willis Law Firm can review your situation and explain all of the legal rights and protections that are available to you. You can schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced injury firm by completing our online contact form or by calling 1-800-468-4878. Our dredge accident lawyers represent injured maritime workers nationwide.