A dredge is a vessel that is equipped with a device used for dredging—basically scraping or sucking a seabed or riverbed in order to gather up soil and sediments. The maritime vessel typically removes material from the sea or river bottom and moves that material to a different place. This is done to keep U.S. waterways navigable and controlled, as well as to leave the channel deep enough for shipping commerce.
Dredge work is vital in countless construction and environmental projects, but it is a physically exhausting job requiring long hours and hazardous work. Although dredging operations typically take place in inland waters or shallow seas, working on a dredge is just as dangerous a job as working on any other maritime vessels, and can also result in injuries and fatalities to crew members. Workers on dredging vessels, therefore, are also covered by the Jones Act just like other maritime workers.
Injuries resulting from dredging accidents can be caused by a variety of things. Workers and deckhands on these vessels may suffer severe personal injury if a dredge runs aground or if a worker is struck by heavy machinery. Dredge workers are required to work with sharp and even defective equipment. In some instances, they are left to work on a vessel with a lack of safety procedures and operations, or work in inclement weather conditions. Many other injuries stem from the use of the small push boats essential to the operation of a dredge.
Common personal injuries resulting from dredging accidents are:
- Crushing injuries
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Hip injuries
- Leg, knee, or ankle injuries
- Eye or vision injuries
- Lung injuries
When workers sustain an injury on a dredge and they need to seek medical attention or time off, the injured workers are entitled to receive “maintenance and cure” from their employers. This is compensation by the dredge owner to the injured worker for reasonable medical expenses, lost wages, as well as room and board while they work on the vessel.
There are times, however, when negligence is involved in a dredging accident. When the negligence of others or the unseaworthiness of the vessel is what causes the accident or injury to occur, the injured victim may be entitled to receive compensation under the Jones Act.
Dredging accident victims or their survivors are entitled to receive damages such as medical costs, future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment, punitive damages, loss of benefits, and loss of consortium.
Seeking Legal Representation
A competent attorney equipped with maritime law expertise may be able to help injured dredge workers, sailors, and seamen fight large companies and their employers in order to obtain proper compensation for their injuries under general maritime law and the Jones Act.
If you have suffered injury in a dredging accident or any other maritime accident, call Sheadyn R Rogers of Rogers Law Firm at (361) 356-6057 or fill out the law firm's online consultation request form for a free consultation concerning your case.