Injured Deckhands

Jones Act Jul 6, 2022

We Help Injured Deckhands Recover Just Compensation Under the Jones Act

Deckhands who work on all types of vessels face injury risks on a daily basis. Getting injured on the job can not only be painful, but it can also be extremely expensive. Between their medical bills and lost wages, many deckhands struggle to stay afloat after suffering job-related injuries. Fortunately, the Jones Act provides injured deckhands with a source of financial compensation in most cases.

Are You a Deckhand?

Working as a deckhand can entail a variety of duties. From handling lines and operating fishing equipment to painting and cleaning, deckhands do all types of jobs to help keep their vessels clean, safe, and operating efficiently.

Unfortunately, vessel owners and operators don’t always treat their deckhands with the same level of respect. Deckhands are often expected to work under hazardous conditions, without the training and equipment they need to stay safe, and without regard to their own personal safety. Additionally, working as a deckhand can be extremely physically demanding, and this adds to the risks (and stress) of working long hours day after day onboard a vessel on the sea.

So, if you are a deckhand and you have been injured on the job, you are not alone. In fact, deckhands regularly get injured while performing their job duties—whether doing routine tasks on deck or helping respond to emergency situations. Fortunately, the Jones Act protects deckhands just like it protects other offshore and maritime workers, and you can hire a lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost to help you secure the Jones Act compensation you deserve.

Were You Injured On the Job?

The Jones Act protects offshore and maritime workers who qualify as “seamen.” A “seaman” is a worker who spends the majority of his or her working hours contributing to the mission of a vessel in navigation. This means that deckhands almost always qualify as seamen under the Jones Act.

This is true regardless of the type of vessel on which they work. As a result, deckhands who work on the following types of vessels (among many others) should speak with a lawyer about their legal rights after getting injured on the job:

  • Barges – Common deckhand tasks onboard deck barges, crane barges, hopper barges, shale barges, and other barges include keeping the deck clear, handling lines, and assisting with dredging and other operations.
  • Cargo Ships – Deckhands on cargo ships can spend weeks on end at sea. Their job duties can range from cleaning and maintenance to standing watch and serving as runners, and all of these duties present risks for injury.
  • Charter Vessels – Deckhands onboard charter vessels are tasked with helping to ensure that passengers have an enjoyable and worry-free experience. This often means taking on multiple responsibilities simultaneously and taking risks behind the scenes.
  • Commercial Fishing Vessels – Working as a deckhand onboard a commercial fishing vessel entails numerous risks. Without proper training, access to safety equipment, and adequate vessel maintenance, deckhands can face injury risks ranging from inhalation in confined spaces (i.e., fish holds) to falling overboard.
  • Cruise Ships – Unfortunately, cruise ship passengers often treat deckhands as second-class citizens, and many cruise lines do as well. Cruise ship deckhands face several injury risks, and they can often find themselves feeling pressured to make dangerous decisions.
  • Ferries – Assisting with dock operations, securing vehicles and making safety rounds are just a few examples of tasks that present injury risks for ferry deckhands. Cleaning, painting and other common tasks present injury risks as well.
  • Tour Boats and Dinner Cruise Boats – Deckhands onboard tour boats and dinner cruise boats face the same risks as deckhands onboard cruise ships, ferries and other vessels.
  • Tug Boats – Working onboard a tug boat entails a variety of risks. From accidents involving lines to collisions with other vessels, deckhands can suddenly and unexpectedly suffer serious injuries under a broad range of scenarios.

As a deckhand, almost everything you do at work presents a risk for injury. While there are steps you can take to reduce your injury risk, you can’t protect yourself entirely. Whether due to rough seas, hazardous weather conditions, coworker negligence, or your employer’s disregard for your personal safety, you can suffer serious injuries due to several factors that are beyond your control. This includes injuries resulting from job-related tasks such as:  

  • Loading or unloading cargo
  • Sweeping or mopping the deck
  • Performing ship maintenance or repairs
  • Working with lines
  • Keeping watch or acting as a runner in rough seas or heavy traffic
  • Operating commercial fishing, shrimping, or crabbing equipment
  • Working on ladders or gangways
  • Responding to emergency situations

How Much Are You Entitled to Recover?

If you are a deckhand and you have been injured on the job, how much are you entitled to recover under the Jones Act? The answer to this question depends on several factors—most importantly:

  • Why Did the Accident Happen? If your employer or the vessel owner is responsible for your injury, you may be entitled to full compensation. If not, you may be limited to collecting maintenance and cure benefits.
  • How Severe is Your Injury? Generally, the more severe your injury, the more you are entitled to recover. This applies to the compensation you are entitled to receive for your medical bills (since your treatment will be more expensive), lost wages (since you will miss more time from work), and pain and suffering (since you will face a longer and more difficult road to recovery).
  • Have You Acted Promptly? When you get injured on the job as a deckhand, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to collect the Jones Act compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation about Your Deckhand Injury Claim

Do you need to know more about filing a deckhand injury claim? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a  free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with a lawyer about your legal rights under the Jones Act in confidence, call 800-468-4878 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office
5005 Riverway Drive
Suite #160

Houston, Texas 77056

By Appointment Only
Willis Law Firm Portway Plaza
1717 Turning Basin Dr.
Suite #232

Houston, Texas 77029

Back to Top


Protect Your Rights.

"Willis battled the chemical companies
and won our case." - MELISSA C.