For many, fishing is known as a slow-paced way to relax. But ask anyone in the commercial fishing industry and they will tell you the otherwise. Over the last decade, the commercial fishing industry has become a booming business due to its high demand.

To keep up with this demand, some commercial fishing companies have put profit over the safety of fishermen. As a result, many commercial fishers have fallen victim to severe injuries. Contact a maritime lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial fishing accident.

Commercial Fishing Accident Maritime Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

The Pacific Coast is home to some of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the country. In fact, Alaska has been ranked the highest volume commercial fishery for 20 consecutive years.

Contact BOATLAW, LLP if you have been injured in a commercial fishing accident. Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. We represent commercial fishermen along the West Coast in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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Common Commercial Fishing Accidents

Most assume fishing accidents are the result of extreme weather conditions, but this is not always the case. The vast majority of commercial fishing accidents could be prevented with adequate employee training and implemented safety measures.

Fishing companies are known to put profit over the safety of their employees, so they are not as meticulous with safety measures as they should be. When this negligence occurs, a fishing boat becomes a hotbed for severe accidents such as:

  • Limbs caught in netting and machinery
  • Falling through open hatches
  • Falling overboard
  • Crush injuries resulting from improperly secured cargo, portholes and equipment
  • Shoulder, neck and back injuries from repetitive motions with improper technique
  • Improper line handling
  • Crane or winch failure resulting in serious bodily injury

There is an endless list of injuries and accidents that can occur on a commercial fishing boat. If the injuries were the result of an employer’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation under maritime law.  Contact BOATLAW, LLP to explore your options.

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What is the Death on the High Seas Act?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the commercial fishing industry is the deadliest occupation in the United States. The BLS’ annual National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found the commercial fishing industry has 116 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time employees.

You might be eligible for compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) if you lost a loved one to a commercial fishing accident. To qualify under the act, the death must have taken place at least three nautical miles from the United States shoreline, and the fatality must have been the result of negligence or an unseaworthy vessel.

Negligence is the failure to act with a level of care a reasonable individual would have shown under similar circumstance. Negligence can include requiring employees to work in harsh weather conditions or failing to provide adequate safety equipment.

Unseaworthiness is similar to negligence expect it involves the ship. There are many ways a vessel could be considered unseaworthy, such as outdated equipment, failure to train crewmembers, missing ladders or handrails and cluttered decks.

Only certain financially depended relatives can benefit from DOHSA. Qualifying relatives include surviving spouse, children, parents and siblings. Compensation from DOHSA is limited to economic damages. This means you cannot receive compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.

The following economic damages may be recovered under DOHSA:

  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of nurture, guidance and care
  • Loss of services
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pre-death costs

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Recoverable Damages for Commercial Fishing Accidents

The damages you are entitled to as an injured commercial fisherman depends on various aspects of the accident, if you were in international waters and the level of negligence involved. Such factors will dictate which maritime laws apply to your case and the types of damages recovered.

As an injured fisherman, you are generally able to recover compensation for damages directly related to the accident such as:

  • Maintenance and cure
  • Lost of current and future wages
  • Reduced capacity to work
  • Past and future medical costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability

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Additional Resources for Commercial Fishing Accidents

Death on the High Seas Act | U.S. Code – Follow the link provided to read through the Death on the High Seas Act. You can learn more about the amount and apportionment of recovery, when a claim can be filed under the act and contributory negligence.

Occupational Injuries | Bureau of Labor Statistics – View a PDF released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about occupational injuries and fatalities. The organization found the occupation to have the highest rates of fatality. You can also gain access to additional information such as the most common cause of injuries and states with the highest rate of injuries.

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Commercial Fishing Accident Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

You have suffered enough. It’s time you let someone else fight for you. BOATLAW, LLP has been representing injured maritime workers on the Pacific West Coast for over 40 years. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation.

BOATLAW, LLP represents injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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