Commercial Fishermen Injury Lawyers
Have you been injured while working as a commercial fisherman or crabber?
Over 50% of our clients are fishermen. We represent fishermen on vessels with crews ranging in size from a single crewman to over 200 crew on board. Injury At Sea represents fishermen who work above deck, below deck, or in the wheelhouse. We have also represented many fishermen who have been injured while working solely as processors aboard vessels.
The law is on your side, and so are we. Few people really know what it’s like out there. In the nearly 50 years that Injury At Sea has been serving maritime clients, we’ve seen just about every accident, injury, and wrongful death imaginable for fishermen – especially in the crabbing fleets.
Most of the clients that come to Injury At Sea have suffered severe injuries and are completely unaware of their rights as “seamen“. Under federal law, including the Jones Act and general maritime law, a “seaman” is defined as an individual with (1) a connection to a vessel in navigation – either at sea, in inland waters, or tied up to a dock – and (2) employment that, in some way, furthers the mission of the vessel.
Who Qualifies as a Fisherman?
Fishermen provide large quantities of food to many countries around the world. Those who practice it as an industry must often pursue fish far into the ocean under adverse conditions. In large-scale commercial fishing (also known as “industrial fishing”), fishermen are tasked with catching fish and other seafood for commercial profit. The means by which they make their catch include, but are not limited to:
- Crabbing methods
- Purse seines
- Pole-and-line fishing
- Longline fishing
- Shellfish harvesting
- Traps and pots
Common Causes of Injury for Fishermen
Common causes of fisherman injuries on the job include:
- Malfunctioning power blocks that let lines slide
- Improperly spliced lines
- Crewmen crushed by pots
- Boats sunk from instability
- Fingers, hands, and arms lost to bait choppers
- Pot launcher malfunctions (including a crew member who was still inside)
- Adverse weather and temperatures
- Slip and falls
- Improperly maintained safety equipment
No Fee Unless You Win
Answered Live 24/7
by a Maritime Lawyer
Maritime Law and Compensation
While commercial fishermen may be owed workers’ compensation benefits after an accident, they may also be able to file a lawsuit for their injury costs if they are covered under maritime laws. Some maritime laws provide wage replacement and medical payments, while others allow workers to act against vessel owners if unsafe conditions caused the accident. Commercial fishermen could be owed compensation under the four main categories listed to the right:
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is one of the most comprehensive sources of maritime employee injury benefits, as it allows workers to collect maintenance and cure as well as the ability to file negligence and unseaworthiness claims against shipowners. Commercial fishermen and crabbers may be covered under the Jones Act if they were injured while on a vessel with which they had a standing work relationship. This may apply to fishermen and crabbers who have been assigned to a vessel for a certain duration—such as a port-to-port journey—or who only perform activities for one vessel in navigation.
Commercial fishermen and crabbers who are employed by a contracting company may be covered under the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. This insurance is particularly useful to contracted seamen who suffer injuries during voyages or activities on land, which may be excepted under the Jones Act.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
Freelance or contracted fisherman and crabbers who do not qualify for Jones Act benefits may be covered under the LHWCA, which provides wage replacement benefits based on a seaman’s average weekly salary.
Any person who suffers an injury at sea has certain rights under general maritime law – including the right to file lawsuits for products liability and wrongful death claims.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured At Sea?
First and foremost – seek medical attention. If you have been injured due to negligence, then it is important that you get an experienced maritime lawyer working on your injury case right away.
Injury At Sea maintains a staff of marine accident investigators with ties to maritime communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. We will start investigating your case right away. Moreover, we will fight to obtain the most you are allowed under maintenance and cure, which provides a stipend for you to survive while you are recuperating from your injury.
The attorneys of Injury At Sea can explain your best options if you were hurt working as a commercial fisherman or crabber. We can make sure you receive what you are entitled to under the law, including past and future medical bills, past and future wages, pain and suffering damages, physical disfigurement, and maintenance and cure payments.
Contact our maritime attorneys today and tell us your story. Our firm is located in Seattle and has more than 80 years of combined experience representing clients located in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Call us today for a no-obligation assessment of your case.
It’s our name. It’s our business. It’s what we do.
We’re here for you 24/7.