The shipping industry has made great strides in its goal of keeping navigable waterways safe for vessels. One task that requires constant attention is that of dredging. In the past, workers would need to stand in deep water with shovels to clear the way. More recently, steam shovels and other mechanical tools made this much easier. The most modern techniques employ suction dredgers to clear rocks and silt from the bottoms of lakes, rivers, and shorelines.
Despite their modernity, working on a suction dredger still places workers at a significant risk of harm. These massive machines have the capability to inflict life-altering injuries on employees after accidents or malfunctions. When this occurs, these workers have the right to demand compensation for their losses.
An Ocean Springs Suction Dredger Accident Lawyer could help with this process. A knowledgeable maritime injury attorney could help injured individuals to understand their rights under the law and to file the correct claims to bring payments for their medical bills and lost wages.
Many suction dredgers perform their work while mounted on a boat. This boat can remain stationary while doing its tasks or can move on the surface of waterways to cover a wide area. As a result, the people who work on these vessels may enjoy protection under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act states that the owners of these vessels do not need to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Instead, 46 United States Code §30104 says that injured “seamen” can sue their employers directly for their injuries following a workplace accident. A seaman is a worker who spends at least 30 percent of their working hours on a vessel that travels navigable waters. Because many suction dredger workers do their work on boats, they may need to seek compensation under this Act. An Ocean Springs Suction Dredger Attorney could help to pursue lawsuits in United States District Courts that demand payments from at-fault employers.
Not every suction dredger functions on a boat. Others are mounted on scaffolding that stretches out over water or moves as a part of a truck. Here, the workers are not seamen in the language of the Jones Act. Instead, workers can claim payments under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This Act creates a federal compensation fund to provide payments for medical costs and lost wages related to accidents that affect shore workers.
Obtaining this compensation is similar in many respects to traditional workers’ compensation claims. An employee needs to inform their supervisor of the accident and file a claim with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Also like workers’ compensation, it is not unusual for the OWCP to deny a claim or issue reduced benefit.
Thankfully, all claimants have the right to pursue an appeal. An Ocean Springs Suction Dredger Accident Attorney could help to identify the reason for a denial and to take the necessary steps to appeal the denial and demand proper compensation.
Enduring an injury while doing your job on a suction dredger can leave you in a difficult position. You likely will require immediate medical care, and the aftermath of an injury can leave you unable to work for weeks, months, or years. At the same time, you may not be aware of your rights or what you need to do to collect compensation for these losses.
An Ocean Springs Suction Dredger Accident Lawyer is here to help. They can work with you to determine if you can file a claim as a shore worker or if you need to sue your boss directly under the Jones Act. Once we know how to proceed, we can take care of all the details so that you can focus on getting your life back on track. Reach out to an Ocean Springs suction dredger accident lawyer today to see how they can help you.