Commercial Fishing Accidents
Recreational fishing is a gentle and relatively harmless pastime, but the same cannot be said about commercial fishing.
Commercial fishing is vital to the livelihoods of many. It is an essential part of the maritime industry and it supplies countless people with jobs. Commercial fishing, however, poses serious risks to its employees and is among the most demanding and hazardous occupations in the United States—with serious injuries and fatalities occurring far too often.
Unfortunately, commercial fishing boat accidents do not just result in injury but also in wrongful death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial fishing is the most dangerous job in the United States. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control show that there were an average of 46 fatalities per year in commercial fishing from 2000 to 2010. More than 50 percent of these fatalities occurred in a vessel disaster, more than 30 percent occurred due to a fisherman falling overboard, and the other fatalities resulted from on-shore accidents and onboard injuries.
It is crucial that workers be aware of the various risks involved with this particular line of work. Numerous things can go wrong on a fishing boat or vessel, many of which can be attributed to negligence and subject to legal action.
A boat may crash into another vessel or may malfunction or break down due to poor maintenance. There may be inadequate equipment or lack of manpower. A crewmember may be poorly trained, the fishing equipment may be faulty, or there may be hazardous conditions on the boat that lead to slip and fall accidents. Fishing accidents can also occur because of poor weather conditions.
When a party’s negligence causes a person to sustain injuries on a boat, the injured victim may be able to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions by pursuing compensation for damages such as present and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced capacity to work, disability, rehabilitative care, and pain and suffering. The unique circumstances of the accident will determine who is deemed at-fault for the incident.
Jones Act Claims
State workers’ compensation laws do not cover commercial fishermen. In 1920, the Jones Act was enacted to protect fishermen and their loved ones who have nowhere to turn to for maintenance and cure or money damages in the event of a serious injury or death at sea.
Under the Jones Act, commercial fishermen are entitled to legal recourse should they sustain injuries resulting from negligence or recklessness on the part of the ship’s captain or owner, or even a fellow fisherman.
Seeking Legal Representation
Sustaining an injury on a fishing boat can be very confusing in terms of the legal options available to you. If you are injured in a fishing accident, it would benefit you greatly to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who understands fishermen and how serious injuries can impact your ability to earn a living. A competent attorney can help you secure the settlement and monetary compensation you need for long-term care and recovery under general maritime laws.
If you have suffered serious injury in a commercial fishing accident or any other maritime accident, call personal injury lawyer Sheadyn R Rogers at (361) 356-6057 or fill out the law firm's online consultation request form for a free consultation concerning your case.