What Should I Do If I Was Hurt on a Dredge Boat?

Dredging is a very important maritime process that benefits the environment, the commercial shipping industry, and construction, among many others. It makes the waterways more easily navigable by large ships and also more suitable for fishing. Dredging vessels are equipped with special machines capable of digging out the bottom of shallow coastal waters and riverbeds.

Although the people who man these vessels are thoroughly trained in operating the machinery, the very nature of the job is quite dangerous and there is a very high risk that an accident might occur. As a matter of fact, hundreds of dredger accidents occur every year, and sometimes even result in the death of maritime workers.

In case you or someone you know ever gets hurt on a dredge boat, you have to know what to do in order to get fair compensation for whatever injuries you sustain. That is what we will talk about in this article.

dredge boat

What Are the Accidents That Can Happen on a Dredging Vessel?

Just as in any other boat, dredger workers face the risk of accidents such as slipping, falling overboard, drowning or getting trapped in a fire or explosion. But unlike other boats, dredging vessels come with the additional danger of equipment-related injuries.

These massive boats are furnished with hydraulic pumps, cranes, buckets and a number of other heavy equipment. The slightest malfunction or human error in operating any of these machines can lead to serious injuries, even death. For instance, a crane can result in the falling of the payload, which will likely crush anything and anyone situated underneath.

Collisions with underwater obstacles are another common accident faced by dredgers. The primary function of these vessels is to clear the waterways for other large boats but they themselves run the risk of crashing into hazards underneath the surface, going aground, or even colliding with smaller vessels while working in narrow channels.

What Precautionary Measures Do Employers Have to Prevent Dredging Accidents?

The best way to protect against dredging accidents is for the employer to ensure that the vessel is completely seaworthy before setting out into the waters. Even if the project is just in a shallow river or inlet, the dredger must still be in tiptop condition. All the safety protocols must be strictly followed and every crew member must be sufficiently trained before being allowed to operate any of the ship’s machinery. The dredger must also be adequately checked on a regular basis in order to ensure proper maintenance.

When Should You Hire a Maritime Accident Lawyer?

It’s perfectly understandable if you need to take some time to rest and recover but it is strongly recommended that you hire a maritime accident lawyer as soon as you can after the incident. The sooner you begin building your case, the better your chances of getting just compensation for your injuries. Also, there is a limited period during which you can file a case, so make sure that you file before the deadline.

This is also valid to have someone file a case in your name in case you are unable to attend to it yourself. It can be your spouse, parent, child or any other close relation who is ready to exert effort in order to give you justice.

It is also worth mentioning that any kind of lawyer can actually represent you in a dredging accident case, technically speaking. However, it is only the extensive knowledge and experience of a qualified maritime accident injury lawyer that can give you the representation that you deserve. For instance, an experienced dredge boat lawyer will have the necessary understanding of general maritime law and the Jones Act to help you file claims against your employer.

What Kind of Compensation Can You Get for a Dredging Accident?

It will depend largely on the extent of the injury that you have suffered. Some of the more common physical injuries affect the shoulder, back, eyes, hip, hand, wrist, knee, ankle, leg and head. It is also quite common for dredging accident victims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Many victims also end up suffering from serious crush injuries and hernias, or having amputations.

While there is no way to undo the damage that has been done, you are definitely entitled to receive compensation for these damages. In order to find out exactly what you can get as compensation, it is paramount that you work with a reliable maritime accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to compute your losses, file your case accordingly, and take care of the negotiations with the other party in order to get you the fair amount that you deserve.

FAQs about Dredging Boat Accidents and Claiming Compensation

What are the common types of dredging accidents?

Aside from the typical boating accidents of slipping, going overboard, and fire, crew members of dredging vessels should always be prepared for machine-related accidents. The heavy equipment on board the dredge boat can malfunction and cause massive damage.

Are there laws that protect dredging injury victims?

There are several mechanisms provided by general maritime law and the Jones Act that allow victims of dredging injury to make the necessary claims against the employers. These laws cover accidents due to employer negligence, unseaworthiness of the vessel, and other reasons.

How can I claim compensation if I get hurt on a dredge boat?

The best thing to do is to find a qualified maritime accident injury lawyer as soon as you can. A maritime attorney will be able to help you through all the steps, from filing a case to actually getting the compensation you deserve.

Where can I find a dredge boat lawyer to help me file a case?

Search in local directories for a legal specialist in maritime law in the area of your accident. Here at O’Bryan Law, we can provide all the necessary legal assistance you will need if you ever suffer any injuries while on board a dredging vessel or a tug boat. Just call us and we will talk you through the process and give you a free comprehensive consultation.