Fishermen often place their life at great risk when working on commercial boats. The physical demands of the job working in hazardous conditions create the ideal environment for serious injuries. In addition, the long hours and challenging work setting create an environment where serious injuries and death can occur in an accident or when the boat sinks.
Boaters and fishermen are protected by the law if involved in a commercial vessel accident. The owners and operators of the vessel have a legal obligation to ensure the boat is seaworthy, the crew properly trained and a boat equipped with all the gear necessary to do their jobs efficiently and safely.
Fishermen work on a variety of commercial vessels including:
- Tuna & sword boats
- Long line vessel
- Oyster and clam dredgers
- Grouper & snapper vessels
- Processing vessel
- Lobster & crab boats
- Commercial fishing boat
Commercial Fishermen Injuries
Unfortunately, because of the dangerous conditions on the open waters, fishermen are placed in danger all the time. When injured, the victim has a legal right to seek compensation from the owner and operator the vessel for numerous types of accidents and incidences that include:
- A slip and fall caused by slippery decks, gangways and ladders
- Broken safety rails and guards
- Crane or winch failure accident
- Negligent crew supervision
- Negligent and dangerous piloting
- Tripping and falling on cluttered decks
- Limb injuries when caught up in netting, rigging, cables and machinery
- Severed or crushed extremities caused by improperly secured portholes and hatches
- Inadequately maintained machinery and equipment
- Malfunctioning or defective equipment
- Unsafe weather conditions
- Inadequate vessel maintenance
- Falling from a high place or through an open hatch
- Improperly trained crewmembers or captains
- Overloaded nets and pots
- Repetitive motion injury caused by overloaded traps and nets
- Line handling
- Vessel unseaworthiness
- Working when conditions are too challenging
Lawyers Seeking Financial Compensation When Injury Strikes a Commercial Fisherman
The amount of damages entitled to a victim harmed in a commercial fishing accident often depends on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances of the incident. If the victim can prove that negligence was involved in an accident or incident, they are likely to receive adequate recompense including:
- Current, past and future medical expenses
- Maintenance and cure
- Physical therapy, rehabilitation and additional surgeries to heal properly
- Lost wages due to missed work
- Lost capacity to work
- Funds for the diminished ability to work as a fisherman
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Mental anxiety, pain and suffering
In the event that the fisherman dies as a result of a negligent or intentional act of the vessel owner, operator, crew member or other third party, surviving family members can seek compensation that includes loss of support, loss of services, and all associated funeral and burial expenses.
Jones Act Claim: The Method For Recovering Compensation For Injuries Sustained on a Fishing Boat
Commercial fishermen are not provided the same type of work injury related insurance coverage like traditional workers’ compensation. However, in 1920 the government enacted the Jones Act to provide financial compensation for fishermen injured or killed at sea. The recompense covers monetary damages and lost wages along with maintenance and care.
In 1988, Congress enacted the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act to ensure that all vessel owners and operators follow strict safety regulations to improve safety for fishermen and others working in one of the most dangerous industries. However, even with these acts firmly in place, employers, operators, pilots, crew members and others often violate these regulations causing serious harm or death to fishermen.
Hiring an Attorney For an Commercial Fishing Accident Case
Additional recompense over and above the maritime version of workers compensation may be available if it can be proven that negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel directly caused injury or death. However, maritime law is complex. Achieving a successful outcome in a claim for recompense often requires the skills of a competent attorney who is willing to fight aggressively to protect the rights of their client.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 specialize in admiralty and maritime personal injury claims– including cases on behalf of injured fishermen. Our skilled attorneys provide proper legal representation and take immediate legal maritime civil action to ensure full recovery for the victim’s suffering and financial losses. Our law firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss the merits of the commercial fishermen injuries claim and accept unseaworthiness and negligent cases on contingency.