Longliner Accidents

Commercial fishing is arguably one of the most dangerous jobs in America. The dangerous conditions and high physical demands make commercial fishermen highly susceptible to serious workplace injuries. Under the Jones Act, a commercial fisherman injured on a longliner may secure compensation if it is shown that the injury resulted from the employer’s negligence.

If you have been injured in a longliner accident, contact Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP. Our California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska maritime injury lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP have handled countless commercial fishing injury claims. We can do the same for you.

Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California Longliner Accident Lawyers

With more than 2 decades of experience in maritime injury law, our skilled maritime lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP know longliners and the unsafe conditions that cause injuries at sea. If you have been injured in a longliner accident, we can navigate the justice system and work hard to obtain optimal compensation on your behalf.

Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a free consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP today. We will answer your questions without obligation and let you decide how to proceed. Our attorneys serve represent hard-working commercial fishermen working on longline fishing vessels in Washington, California, Oregon and Alaska.

Back to Top

Information Center

Back to Top

Longliner Accidents in Washington, Oregon, California and Oregon

Longline fishing is hazardous. An individual can be injured on a longline fishing boat in many different ways. These include:

  • Longline roller accidents
  • Contact with fish hooks
  • Getting caught up in nets, cables, or rigging
  • Lacerations from lines and cables
  • Winch failure
  • Slip and falls or trip and falls
  • Hands and fingers caught in hatches
  • Accidents involving the gangway or other walkway
  • Falls through an open hatch
  • Accidents involving the use of a crane or other equipment
  • Accidents involving machinery
  • Collisions with other ships or debris in the water
  • Shipwrecks

An attorney specializing in maritime law should handle any injury or death from an accident on a longliner.

Back to Top

Potential Injuries From A Longliner Accident

Injuries that could result from an accident on a longliner include the following:

  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Hypothermia, frostbite, or exposure
  • Head trauma (concussions or traumatic brain injuries)
  • Broken bones
  • Crushing injuries
  • Loss of hands, fingers, or limbs (amputations)
  • Paralysis
  • Back injuries of various kinds
  • Injuries to the spinal cord
  • Drowning and death

Back to Top

Potential Causes Of Injuries From A Longliner Accident

Many factors may cause or contribute to a longliner accident. Often negligence or failure to follow best practices by a maritime employer can create an unsafe working environment. Causes of longliner accidents may include:

  • Improper handling of nets and lines
  • Severe weather conditions that are not avoided
  • Defective hooks or winches or other defective tools and equipment
  • Overloaded nets and pots
  • Not enough crewmembers on the longliner
  • Training that is not adequate
  • Fatigued workers on the longliner
  • Mechanical failures of the longliner or machinery on the longliner
  • Slippery or poorly maintained decks on the longliner
  • Faulty rigging on the longliner
  • Safety equipment for the crew of the longliner not provided
  • Failure to place signs warning of hazards where necessary
  • Failure to rescue a fisherman swept overboard
  • Medical attention that is not adequate after injury on the longliner

Back to Top

Types Of Compensation For Injuries From A Longliner Accident

Multiple avenues to compensation might be available to an individual injured in a longliner accident, depending on the case’s specifics.

Maintenance And Cure

Maintenance and cure compensates fishermen (seamen) injured on the job. This is a concept from common law, meaning it is based on precedent and case law, not a statute. Maintenance covers basic living expenses such as rent or a mortgage payment, utilities such as heat, water, and electricity, and food while the injured individual recovers.

Cure covers medical bills associated with the injury, including hospital bills, bills for doctor’s visits, the cost of medication, bills for rehabilitation or physical therapy, and the cost of required medical equipment. Maintenance and cure ends when it is safe for the individual to go back to work, as determined by a doctor.

To get the benefits of Maintenance and Cure, an individual does not have to prove that the employer was at fault or that the employer did anything wrong. Compensation under Maintenance and Cure can be claimed for illnesses and medical conditions that occur at sea, even if the illness or medical condition is not due to maritime work.

The Jones Act

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, often called the Jones Act, makes it possible for an injured fisherman (seaman) to bring a claim if they suffer an injury caused by the negligence of their employer. If the negligence of the employer (or a crew member) contributed to the injury in any way, a claim may be brought by the injured individual under the Jones Act, even if the contribution by the employer (or other crew member) was very small. This is a significantly lower burden of proof than that for typical, land-based personal injury cases.

Under the Jones Act, an injured fisherman may claim damages for the following: (1) medical expenses (past, present, and future), (2) lost earnings, (3) lost earning capacity, (4) pain and suffering (past, present, and future), and (5) mental anguish (past, present, and future).


If the ship an injured fisherman (seaman) was injured on was not seaworthy, the injured fisherman may be able to bring a claim for unseaworthiness. Unseaworthiness is a doctrine that makes the ship’s owner strictly liable for injuries that occur on a ship declared unseaworthy.

An individual claiming unseaworthiness may recover damages such as lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical expenses (past, present, and future), pain and suffering (past, present, and future), and mental anguish (past, present, and future). If a vessel is deemed unseaworthy, it is not important whether or not the ship-owner knew of the ship’s condition, or whether the ship-owner was negligent. The facts that matter are (1) that the ship was unseaworthy, and (2) that the unseaworthiness of the ship contributed to the injury (even if it was not the only cause).

The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders, and harbor construction workers are not considered seamen, so they are not covered by the Jones Act. However, if they are injured, they may be able to bring a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The Death On The High Seas Act

If a loved one has been killed on a longliner at sea, certain of their loved ones, including their surviving spouse, may be entitled to compensation under the federal Death on the High Seas Act. This Act applies to a maritime worker who dies on a vessel that is more than 3 miles off the shore of the United States of America. For the claim to be successful, the death on the longliner must have been as a result of negligence or a wrongful act. A claim may be brought under the Death on the High Seas Act by the deceased’s spouse, parent, child, or another dependent relative. The amount of compensation the claimant may receive under the Death on the High Seas Act is based on the estimated financial contribution the deceased would have made to the household.

Back to Top

Statute Of Limitations

Statutes of limitations:

  • Maintenance and Cure: 3 years
  • the Jones Act: 3 years
  • Doctrine of unseaworthiness: 3 years
  • LHWCA: 1 year
  • Death on the High Seas Act: 3 years

Back to Top

Additional Resources

Marine Traffic Map – A real-time map showing the locations of ships worldwide, provided by MarineTraffic.

28 U.S. Code § 1333 – This part of the federal code grants the federal courts the right to oversee civil maritime cases in the United States.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Frequently Asked Questions – The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs provides answers to frequently asked questions about LHWCA.

Back to Top

Longliner Accident Attorneys |  Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California

If you have been injured in a longliner accident in Washington, Oregon, Alaska or California, reach out to Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP to see how our maritime lawyers can serve you during this time of need. Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP provides precisely the highly effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle longliner accidents. To understand your legal options, contact us today.

Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule your first consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP today. While you focus on the most important aspect of the process which is healing and recovery, we’ll focus on the legal aspect.

Back to Top

  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.