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Houston Dredging Accident Attorney

Accidents can happen anytime on a dredging vessel – one moment of distraction and you could be seriously injured. Not to mention when you’re away from port, help can take hours to arrive.

If you’ve been hurt on a dredging vessel, you may be eligible to demand compensation under the U.S. Jones Act, which protects eligible seamen like you. A Houston dredging accident attorney from Havens & Associates can help you learn more about your rights and how to get the compensation you need for your medical care and other losses. Call us at (713) 955-2215 for a free consultation.

houston dredging accident attorney

What are dredging vessels?

Dredging vessels are watercraft used to remove sand, gravel, and other sediment from the bottom of a seabed. Dredging vessels and heavy machinery may be used at rivers’ mouths or coastal areas. They may remove the upper part of the sea or river floor to deepen the water or allow larger ships to dock closer to land. 

Some of the more common types of dredging equipment you may see include:

Why is offshore dredging so dangerous?

A dredging vessel’s deck is littered with hazards, from slick surfaces to moving equipment, steep drops, swinging cables and ropes, and the risk of weather and water washing someone overboard.

The environmental factors add another layer of danger to an otherwise already dangerous construction or excavation job site. Considering that emergency assistance could be many nautical miles away, it’s even more imperative that dredging employers take steps to protect all those aboard.

Why do maritime dredging accidents happen?

Although some accidents on a dredger may be minor, many others result in catastrophic injury. Unfortunately, many dredging vessel accidents could be prevented with closer attention to safety, better safety gear, and regular preventative maintenance of the vessel and machinery. A dredging accident or injury can have many causes, such as the following.

Inadequate safety measures

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets rigorous safety standards for workers onboard dredging vessels and their employers. Strictly adhering to these safety requirements and others set by your employer can reduce the chance of an accident.

However, many companies may cut corners on safety to save on costs, or workers may not take the right steps to protect themselves.

Vessel, equipment, and machinery malfunction

An unexpected malfunction may mean an emergency. Depending on what goes wrong, there could be an explosion, loose machinery arms swinging into someone’s path, or an oil spill.

Collisions between vessels

Larger projects may require multiple dredgers or other maritime equipment and vessels. When one vessel strays into the path of another, many people may be injured. Falling off the deck, or even one or both vessels sinking, are very real risks.

Undersea collisions may be even more dangerous than colliding with another vessel. When sediment and other debris are stirred up from the seabed, visibility decreases, and large objects beneath the surface may not be visible.

Environmental factors

The general work environment is dangerous, as workers are almost constantly on slick, sloping, or uneven surfaces. The chances of slipping and getting hurt or washed overboard are high, even with restraints and harnesses.

The body of water you are working on poses its own special dangers, like:

Updated weather and environmental condition information are critical to the safety of the dredger. Employers should ensure that workers know what kind of environment they are operating in so they can take appropriate preventative measures.


A simple misunderstanding or miscommunication can cause an accident. This could be between offshore workers, the vessel and the company, or the vessel and maritime authorities ashore.

Generally dangerous working conditions

The vessel itself may pose hazards. The deck is often slick with water or even machinery oil. Some of the duties of a dredging employee are inherently dangerous. Adding heavy machinery like cranes and backhoes makes a dredging job site just as or more dangerous than a construction site.

What should I do after an offshore dredging accident?

What kinds of compensation can I recover?

The Jones Act extends the protections guaranteed in the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to seamen and other maritime workers.

Your benefits under the Jones Act include:

Unlike filing a claim under a traditional workers’ comp program, getting compensation to cover your losses under the Jones Act involves filing a civil suit against your employer and any other negligent party. And, unlike workers’ comp, you may demand compensation for non-economic losses like diminished quality of life, emotional trauma, and disability or disfigurement.

How can a Houston dredging accident attorney help me?

A Houston dredging injury lawyer can file the necessary suit to secure the compensation you deserve. They can gather evidence of negligence and build a strong case against the defendant. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company and handle all communication regarding your case so you can rest and recuperate.

They can also represent you at mediation and litigate your case in court if it comes to that.

What are common injuries in dredging accidents?

Dredging accident victims could suffer:

In many cases, the injured worker suffers multiple injuries, meaning a long, painful recovery.

Who may be liable for my dredging injury?

Your employer, the maritime dredging company, may be the most likely liable party for your injury, but they may not be the only one. Depending on your job specifics and the circumstances of your injury, other defendants could include:

Your attorney may name multiple defendants in your case, and you can demand compensation from each.

Hurt on a dredging vessel? Our Houston dredging accident attorneys can help.

If you’ve been hurt in a dredging accident on a river, coastal area, bay, or other body of water, you have legal rights, and a Houston dredging injury attorney can help you assert them.

The team at Havens & Associates can help you understand your options and provide personalized advice to make the right choices for yourself and your family. Call us at (713) 955-2215 for a free case review.

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