Dredge Accident Injury Lawsuit

A dredge is a vessel that collects sediment from low-lying waterways, such as rivers and coastal areas. The dredge digs up the sediment so that the waterways have more depth and can allow for the passage of cargo vessels. Dredge vessels allow for more shipping traffic in areas that were previously inaccessible, making work on dredge vessels a vital part of the modern shipping economy.

However, this same work can also be highly dangerous. In many instances, working on a dredge vessel can be among the most hazardous jobs in the maritime industry. These jobs require specialized equipment to dig up the sediment, remove it from the waterway, and transport it to a dumping site. The use of heavy machinery, such as cranes, diggers, and propellers, on dredge vessels makes each project a perilous way to make a living.

Causes of Dredge Accident Injuries

Mechanical Failure
With so much activity aboard dredge vessels, there can be instances in which the owners of the vessels do not keep to a strict maintenance schedule on their equipment. The machines used in dredging operations can, much like the human components of the operation, become overworked. A slight mechanical issue can turn into a catastrophic failure under the wrong circumstances, which can leave workers at risk for serious injury.

Fatigue and Long Hours

The heavy machinery is not the only hazard with which dredge vessel workers must contend. Many workers must work well beyond the standard eight hours a day, with some workdays stretching up to twelve hours or more. Also, dredge workers can often work for up to a month straight without a day off, regardless of weather or water conditions. The resulting fatigue from these long hours can lead to serious accidents.

Inadequate Support

The demanding nature of working on a dredge vessel can leave workers without adequate support. This lack of support can come from a lack of proper supervision, inadequate training, or working on a “skeleton crew” without enough support staff. When vessel owners fail to provide their workers with adequate support, any one of these factors can lead to accidents that can leave workers with serious injuries.

Types of Dredge Accidents

Several types of accidents can occur aboard a dredge vessel. Any one of these can cause serious injuries, or even death. Most of these can be prevented when vessel owners take the proper precautions. These accidents can include:

  • Burns
  • Crushing Injuries
  • Exposure to Hazardous Materials
  • Falling Objects
  • Lacerations
  • Slips and Falls
  • … and much more.

Types of Dredge Accident Injuries

This dangerous line of work can lead to several types of injuries. These injuries can include:

  • Skull fractures
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Blindness
  • Facial disfigurement
  • Tooth loss and/or jaw injuries
  • Broken limbs
  • Muscle strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Dismemberment
  • Fractured ribs
  • Internal organ damage
  • … and much more

Costs of Dredge Accident Injuries

The costs involved in a dredge accident injury can be staggering. The immediate costs can include:

  • First aid (bandages, splints, burn treatment)
  • Ambulance transportation (by land or air)
  • Emergency room treatment
  • Pre-operative imaging tests (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans)
  • Surgical procedures
  • Post-operative evaluations
  • Hospital stays
  • … and much more.

After the worker leaves the hospital, the treatment process continues. The costs involved in that process can include:

  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • Assistive devices (crutches, braces, canes, etc.)
  • … and much more.

The pain that the worker must contend with after an accident can extend well beyond the physical aspects. These problems can include:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Increased anxiety
  • Memory lapses
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Relationship stresses
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • … and much more.

The financial stresses can also become a major factor. These stresses often include:

  • Loss of income
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Medical bills
  • Monthly expenses
  • Transportation costs
  • … and much more

Dredge Accidents and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that dredge vessels fall under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), a federal law that “provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States.” The ruling means that workers on dredge vessels are entitled to the same compensation as workers on any other type of maritime vessel.

Dredge Accidents and the Jones Act

Many workers on dredge vessels are also entitled to protections under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the “Jones Act”. The Jones Act allows injured workers to sue the vessel’s owners if their injuries could be attributed to the owner’s negligence. A knowledgeable dredge accident injury attorney can assess an injured worker’s case and determine if they are eligible for these protections.

Why Workers Need A Dredge Accident Injury Attorney

The vessel owners have their insurance carrier and a team of attorneys on their side. Workers need an experienced, tenacious, and dedicated team on their side. A seasoned dredge accident injury attorney can stand up in court for an injured worker and fight for their rights.

Contact An Experienced Dredge Accident Injury Lawyer Today

At Simon & O’Rourke Law Firm, P.C., we have nearly 30 years of combined experience in dealing with dredge accident injury lawsuits. We have the experience you need to combat the shipping companies, their insurance carriers, and their attorneys. We have stood up for the rights of maritime workers in numerous cases, and we strive to get the maximum compensation for our clients’ injuries.

Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss your case, develop a strategy, and get you the money you need to get back on your feet.