After an Accident, You Need a Caring and Skilled Commercial Fishing Lawyer
Crewmen working aboard commercial fishing boats run the risk of serious injuries and fatalities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified industrial fishing as being one of the most dangerous occupations in the nation. According to NIOSH reports, from 2000-2010 alone 545 commercial fishermen died while fishing on U.S. waters, with some of the most hazardous fisheries being the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery, the Atlantic scallop fishery and the Alaska crab and salmon fisheries. Despite the inherently deadly nature of the occupation, a commercial fishing lawyer can still pursue compensation for victims and their families.
Maritime employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. When a maritime employer fails to use reasonable care to prevent workplace accidents and injuries, the employer can be held liable when a worker is injured. An unseaworthy vessel, lack of appropriate equipment, or an inadequately trained crew can cause a fisherman to suffer a life changing injury. Though workers compensation and Jones Act insurance should provide you benefits, a commercial fishing attorney will be sure to protect your right to adequate compensation.
Why is Commercial Fishing So Dangerous?
Commercial fishing typically entails the harvesting of fresh fish and other seafood from their natural habitats. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), commercial fishing is a highly dangerous profession. In fact, according to NIOSH, from 2000-2017, commercial fishermen experienced a fatality rate of 114 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, compared to that of 4 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers among all U.S. Workers. The most fatalities occurred in the scallop industry.
There are many reasons why commercial fishing is so dangerous. Commercial fishers work in extra hazardous working conditions that include, for example, long work hours, working in dangerous weather, and strenuous physical labor, among other conditions. Common accidents for fishermen include falling overboard, back injuries, injuries sustained from vessel collisions and capsizing, among other issues. According to NIOSH, from 2000-2017, 791 commercial fishermen died while fishing in the United States. Below is a breakdown of accidents causing these fatalities:
- 48% occurred after a vessel disaster
- 30% occurred when a fisherman fell overboard
- 13% resulted from an injury sustained onboard
- 9% occurred while diving or from onshore injuries
Commercial fishing is for a variety of fish, including oyster and lobsters and more. Thus, a variety of vessels can be involved in an accident. A commercial fishing lawyer at our firm cam help if you were injured on the following:
- Sword & Tuna Boat
- Snapper & Grouper Boats
- Crabbers & Lobstermen
- Clam & Scallop Boat
- Sword & Tuna Boat
- Processing Vessels
Protecting Commercial Fishermen Nationwide
The Willis Law Firm has been leading the fight for injured seamen and workers on the Jones Act and general maritime law cases. We have more than 40 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured seamen and workers nationwide. Our commercial fishing lawyers understands how the maritime industry operates and we are familiar with the dangerous and unsafe conditions that too often exist on commercial fishing boats, including:
- Lack of adequate non-skid materials
- Mechanical malfunctions
- Ergonomic issues
- Lack of proper equipment
- Using dangerous fish processors without training
- Insufficient number of crew members
- Forced to use outdated or worn out equipment and tools
- Injured by tools and processing equipment without safety guards
- Inexperienced crew members or “greenhorns”
- Rough seas and icy waters
- Strong winds and severe weather conditions
- Assaults from dangerous or aggressive crewmembers
Whether your injury occurred while working on a fleet of shrimp boats, cod or tuna boat, a fish processing plant ship, lobster fishing boat, a crab boat, or even a fishing vessel that harvests Gulf menhaden or pogie in the Gulf of Mexico, you may have the legal right to financial compensation. In most cases, individuals who work on commercial fishing boats are protected under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides injured seamen with certain legal rights, including the right to collect maintenance and cure benefits from an employer and the right to file a lawsuit against an employer if the employer’s negligence played any part in the seaman’s injuries. If your employer is refusing to pay you the maintenance and cure benefits you are owed, or if you think you may have a negligence claim against the company, an attorney can help. Our commercial fishing law firm will carefully review your case to make sure you are receiving the full compensation you are entitled to under the law.
In addition to the Jones Act, you may have rights under additional laws and statutes. For instance, if you were injured by a dangerous or malfunctioning piece of equipment, you may be able to bring a third party claim against the equipment manufacturer and/or the maintenance and repair company responsible for keeping the equipment in proper working order. Additionally, Congress passed the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act in 1988 which requires that safety measures and equipment take place on all commercial fishing vessels. A violation of this law is another chance for compensation that our commercial fishing law firm will explore for you.
Discuss Your Fishing Boat Accident with an Experienced Commercial Fishing Attorney
When you are hurt a commercial fishing boat accident the injuries can end your career. The Willis Law Firm understands the difficulties you are facing in the industrial fishing industry and we here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today at 1-800-468-4878 to discuss your fishing boat accident with an experienced offshore injury lawyer. You should never provide any statements to an employer or sign any releases until you have spoken with your commercial fishing attorney.