The maritime industry wouldn’t be complete with dredge workers who support our environment, commercial shipping industry, and more. Unfortunately, dredgers can be just as dangerous or even deadly as any job in the industry.
When you are injured as a dredge worker, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed – like your life is falling apart before your eyes. But there is still hope for you and your future.
Learn more about your options from George Vourvoulias of the Maritime Injury Law Firm, a Louisiana-based team that has championed injured offshore workers all over the Gulf Coast and the United States.
Common dredge worker accidents
Dredge workers handle a variety of special equipment that help dig at the bottom of the seas and riverbeds. It’s not uncommon for injuries to occur while dredge workers handle this equipment, even at the fault of their employers.
Some common accidents on dredge boats include:
- Falling overboard
- Falling equipment
Does the Jones Act protect dredge workers?
One of the most widely applicable protections for maritime workers is the Jones Act. However, the Jones Act differentiates between seamen and longshoremen, and only covers the former.
The difference is:
- Seamen: Maritime employees who work in service to a “vessel in navigation,” or a ship that is actively sailing waters.
- Longshoremen: Maritime employees who work on docks and shipyards.
Clearly dredge workers are in a gray area, but after years of court cases the Supreme Court decided in 2005 that dredge workers are, in fact, considered “seamen” under the Jones Act.
Under the Jones Act, it is not required to prove employer negligence to collect benefits when injured. However, proving negligence can entitle you to additional compensation under the Jones Act.
Some examples of employer negligence include:
- Requiring seamen to work in dangerous weather conditions
- Failure to provide adequate training
- Failure to provide adequate equipment
- Failure to maintain equipment
- And other means of enabling dangerous conditions for workers
Do maintenance and cure apply to dredge workers?
Because dredge workers are considered seamen under the Jones Act, they are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits when they are injured.
These are two benefits outlined under the Jones Act, and as mentioned before maintenance and cure can be collected by injured dredge boat and maritime workers even without proving employer negligence.
Maintenance and cure are different benefits that cover:
- Maintenance: Compensation for cost of living expenses, such as mortgage or rent, food, utilities and more.
- Cure: Compensation for medical expenses, including both bills and transportation to and from appointments.
Additional compensation for dredge workers after being injured on the job
In addition to maintenance and cure, you may be able to sue for other damages. It also helps if you are able to prove employer negligence led to your accident, and your resulting injury or injuries.
Some additional damages you may be able to collect include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation
- The inability to engage in recreational activities you previously enjoyed
How can a maritime lawyer help me after a dredge boat injury?
In order to get the most of your Jones Act benefits, you need the support of an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Maritime law is a distinct area of the law, and a lawyer without the proper experience cannot understand the pressure seamen face – or the way companies try to downplay their injuries and illnesses.
These are tricks companies can play to convince injured workers to take lowball settlements, but a maritime lawyer can pave the way for your life after injury.
Contact a Gulf Coast maritime injury attorney at the Maritime Injury Law Firm
You need a lawyer who knows maritime law, and who will fight for your rights. The Maritime Injury Law Firm has 20 years of experience with maritime law, and our attorney has a deep understanding of your unique challenges as a dredge worker. Let him fight for all the compensation you’re owed – for your short-term and long-term struggles.