Dredging is necessary, but often dangerous, maritime work. Due to the operational roles of dredging vessels themselves, dredge accidents typically happen near shore or in shallow waters. Dredge worker injuries, however, can still be covered and litigated under maritime law. That’s because the operation of dredgers, is incredibly important to maintaining sea channels, shipping lanes, and waterways in busy ports.
Dredging is essential for heavily-trafficked waterways because ships large and small tend to unsettle the seafloor — loose sand, gravel, debris, and sediment is disturbed by the wakes of these ships and can rapidly accumulate in heavily used shipping channels. Over time, this sediment can collect and turn deep channels into shallow hazards. Dredgers are responsible for removing this sediment, keeping heavily used shipping lanes safe for larger vessels.
Common Types of Dredge Accidents
A dredger is a ship designed primarily for undersea excavations or marine sediment removal. These vessels are usually classified as either mechanical dredgers or suction dredgers. In order to accomplish these primary functions, dredgers are usually outfitted with heavy machinery, in most cases including a crane, digging systems, or sediment suction equipment. Many dredge accidents involve the operation or failure of this heavy equipment.
Common types of dredge accidents may include:
- Accidents involving heavy machinery – Heavy machinery of any kind has its own inherent risks, and operating heavy machinery at sea introduces even more challenges. For example, when cranes malfunction, payloads can drop and cause significant injuries or damage. Undersea dredging can also cause accidents should the dredging equipment malfunction catastrophically.
- Miscommunication – As on any vessel, communication is of vital importance on a dredger. A crane or auger operator, for example, who misunderstands his or her instructions may inadvertently become involved in a collision or lift a payload before it is properly secured. That’s why most dredgers employ strict communication protocols and safety checks.
- Undersea collisions – Due to the nature of their work, dredgers operate in difficult conditions. In some cases, dredgers may encounter undersea collisions, which can cause serious dredge accidents and catastrophic injuries. Additionally, when dredgers are involved in construction, collisions of other types become a concern as well.
- Falling overboard – Slips and falls on any vessel are among the most common maritime and dredge accidents. Falling overboard on a dredger may present heightened risks if the dredging systems are activated.
Dredge accidents are typically covered under maritime law, but because these vessels tend to operate in ports and near the shoreline, injured dredge workers may have some doubts about their legal rights. The attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law have represented many dredge workers, so we know how you can be impacted and protected when accidents occur — and how we can successfully resolve your case and get you compensation.
Types of Injuries When Dredge Accidents Occur
Dredging injuries as a result of an accident can vary. However, just as with accidents on other vessel types, injuries can often be life-threatening. That’s why it is vital that safety protocols be followed and that crews are sufficiently trained to handle emergencies. Some of the most common serious injuries that dredge workers may encounter often include:
- Crushing injuries (either from debris or from machinery accidents)
- Loss of limbs
- Hypothermia (especially in cases of falling overboard)
- Traumatic brain injury (including concussions)
- Injuries related to falling overboard
- Broken bones
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dredge accident, it can be difficult to know where to turn next, or whether you’ll even be covered under maritime law. The legal team at Montagna Marine Law has experience helping seamen injured in dredge accidents seek justice in cases where injuries occur.
Understanding Your Legal Rights After a Dredge Accident
Speaking with an attorney from Montagna Maritime Law is the first step in learning about your rights to damages after a serious injury at work. Maritime law makes a distinction when accidents are caused by poor training, negligence, or other malfeasance. The inherent risk of the maritime activity undertaken is not usually a factor when determining the rights of the injured.
Under the Jones Act, one of the primary laws that guides U.S. adherence to maritime law, injured seamen are entitled to certain rights and recompense even when no fault can be found for a dredge accident. But it’s important that you don’t delay in filing a suit as statutes of limitation may apply to your case.
The attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law have years of experience helping injured seamen and their families ensure that their rights are respected and the law is followed. We can help you during this difficult and confusing time, as is often the case after dredge accidents. We know how hard life at sea can be — that’s why we always look out for the needs and the rights of all our maritime clients.
Talk to an Experienced Dredge Accident Attorney
Suffering an injury while at work can be a stressful, confusing, and traumatic experience for anyone. Your employer might not be making the effort you expect to ensure your well-being. Often times, employers and insurers use underhanded techniques to get dredge workers to settle their cases quickly. That’s why it’s important you speak to a knowledgeable dredge accident attorney who can advise you of your rights under maritime law.
If you’ve been injured on the East Coast, call the skilled attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law to talk about your case. Our attorneys offer a high level of personal attention to each and every client, combined with extensive experience in the litigation of general maritime law. As an injured dredge worker who depends on your physical ability for your livelihood, it’s critical that you get the maximum compensation and benefits you’re entitled to under maritime laws for you, your family, and your health.