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, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. That is 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 are 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.
Accidents relating to dredging typically occur in coastal states where heavy amounts of sediments and debris are being removed. Areas, including, but not limited to Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey see plenty of dredging activity. Other areas where dredging accidents frequently occur include states and cities that have large lakes, rivers, harbors, and other bodies of water. Offshore injuries are, unfortunately, very common.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 and other crew members, 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.
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 is 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 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 dredging 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. Get the help you need by consulting our dredge accident lawyers.
Speaking with a maritime 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. However, it’s important that you don’t delay in filing a suit as statutes of limitations may apply to your case.
The attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law have dedicated years to helping injured seamen, deckhands, longshoremen, and other crew members 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 a maritime injury. 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. Contact a dredge accident attorney today to learn more about how we can help you if you’ve suffered a dredging or boating accident.
Insurance companies very rarely, if ever, consider what’s best for victims. They’ll often try to shift blame to victims, undermine the extent of their injuries, or even dispute injuries or damages that victims have suffered. Insurance adjusters often will reach out to victims and try to extract information that ultimately can hurt them when it comes to compensation. They will also manipulate injured seamen by trying to encourage them to sign for a payout that is far lower than what they are entitled to receive, often not considering any long-term medical care they will need.
If you have been hurt at a dredging site, it’s important to speak to a maritime lawyer without delay. Also, you should never sign agreements waiving your right to a jury trial for increased payments while out injured without speaking with an experienced law firm first. Unlike insurance companies, your attorney will stand by your side and be your advocate. Because companies have insurance companies fighting for them or the vessel owner, it’s important you have someone looking out for your best interests as well.
Sometimes people who are seriously injured in maritime accidents hesitate to call a personal injury attorney because they feel it’ll cost them too much money at a time when they’re already stressed and experiencing high medical bills, suffering from lost wages, and worried about long-term medical expenses.
If you find yourself in this situation, know that speaking to a Montagna Maritime lawyer is absolutely free. We understand the pain and suffering you’re experiencing and offer free case evaluations to our clients. You will never have to worry about upfront costs. If you do not receive compensation for your case, neither do we. Any expenses relating to building a legal case are initially paid by us so you do not have to worry.
Once one of our personal injury lawyers evaluates your case, you are under no obligation to hire us as your legal representation. We’re always happy to answer questions you may have about your situation and a potential case against those who are at fault for the injuries you have suffered.
While we cannot offer our clients an exact number of the cost of legal fees if the settlement is won, what we can promise is that injured workers who work with us receive personalized, one-on-one attention, and are given sound legal advice.
If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury or wrongful death due to a dredging accident, the Virginia maritime lawyers at Montagna Maritime Law are here for you. We care deeply about the well-being of our clients and their family members. No one should ever have to experience additional struggles due to the negligence or poor decisions of another party.
Our law firm has over 50 years of experience fighting for the rights of maritime workers, helping them receive the compensation they are entitled to under the law in their personal injury cases. Our legal team is thoroughly versed in general maritime law and will stand with you every step of the way.
To request a free consultation, call us at (877) 622-8100 or complete the online contact form to speak with an experienced maritime lawyer at Montagna Maritime Law today. Our law firm also offers resources to our Spanish-speaking clients.