Without shipping channels, waterways, and ocean inlets, transporting countless everyday goods would be much more expensive and difficult, if not impossible. Because of the heavy traffic sailing on these waterways, they must be diligently maintained through dredging. While dredges obviously play an integral role in the shipping industry, they are risky for the men and women who work aboard and around them.
Negligence: If the owner, captain, or other members of the crew were negligent or incompetent, or if the dredging vessel was poorly maintained, not seaworthy or unfit for its intended purpose, the injured worker might want to consider contacting a Jones Act and maritime lawyer.
Death: In the event that a loved one is killed due to such negligence while working on or around a dredge, the Jones Act also allows for certain family members to file a wrongful death claim.
Dredging Accidents Caused by Negligence
While dredges are necessary, especially in high traffic shipping areas, they are still dangerous. Common causes of injury and death because of negligence include:
- Lack of proper safety training
- Crew member not properly trained for their job
- Poorly maintained, broken, or faulty equipment or machinery
- Failure to provide proper equipment for a crew member’s job or task
- Unseaworthy Vessel – when the vessel is not reasonably fit for its intended purpose
- Failure to hire a competent crew or negligent co-workers
- Collisions with other vessels
- Running aground
- Failure to provide a safe environment
- Miscommunication between crane operators and workers
- Drowning or hypothermia
Compensation for Jones Act Seaman
The Jones Act is a federal law that allows seamen injured because of someone else’s negligence to file a claim for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Negligence must occur because of his/her employer or other seamen while the vessel is “in navigation.”
Worker’s Compensation is Not Available to Seamen
Traditional land-based maritime workers are entitled to federal or state worker’s compensation. Seamen, however, are not. Instead, the Jones Act allows seamen, and their families, to make a claim for personal injury or a wrongful death that resulted from negligence.
Am I a Jones Act Seaman?
There are complicated legal issues surrounding who qualifies as a seaman. You should consult with an experienced Jones Act and maritime lawyer. In general, to be classified as a Jones Act Seaman you must:
- engage in an employment relationship with a specific ship or shipping company
- spend at least 30% of your working time with that ship or fleet of ships
- directly contribute to the ship’s functions or to accomplishing it’s assigned tasks
- be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien at the time of the accident
Maritime Cases Differ from Personal Injury Cases
There are a distinct set of laws that govern maritime accidents. Simply put, not every attorney can handle a Jones Act and maritime case.
Richard Serpe has a Master of Laws in Maritime
Richard Serpe gained a Master of Laws in Maritime from Tulane University School of law after graduating from law school. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States and has been practicing law for over 32 years. He knows the ins and outs of the maritime law, and he truly cares about the people he has dedicated his life to helping.
If you or your loved one was seriously injured in a dredge boat accident, contact us for a free consultation. You pay no legal fees unless we settle or win your case.