Commercial Fishermen

Commercial fishing is a dangerous and deadly business, especially when it comes to the icy, windswept, high-risk waters of the North Pacific. Despite these inherent dangers, a commercial fishing company still has a high duty of care towards its workers, both on the docks and on board its ships. Failure to provide basic safety measures to prevent injury is considered negligence, and if you suffer injury or death due to these actions (or lack thereof), you and your family have a right to compensation under maritime law. An experienced maritime injury lawyer can help you pursue maximum damages for your commercial fishing accident.

Attorneys for Commercial Fishing Injuries in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska

At BoatLaw, LLP, we have decades of experience serving seamen, whether they are employed aboard a fishing vessel or harborside. We have clients all along the west coast, from California, Oregon, and Washington and all the way to Alaska. When it comes to commercial fishermen, we have seen all kinds of cases and worked with hundreds of fishermen injured aboard crabbers, trawlers, longliners, scallop boats, sword and tuna boats, shrimpers, gillnetters, processing vessels, and factory ships. If you are concerned about the amount you are receiving in maintenance and cure for your commercial fishing boat injury, consult with our experienced maritime injury attorneys at BoatLaw, LLP. Your first consultation is free, so call 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule yours today.

Commercial Fishing Maritime Injury Information Center

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Types of Commercial Fishing Accidents

Commercial fishing boats are full of risk for all kinds of accidents and injuries. The danger and high reward for success are often what draw fishermen to the trade. Careful training and implementation of safety procedures can prevent most accidents; however, some companies are not as meticulous about these measures as they should be because they are more concerned with their revenue than the safety of their workers. Injuries frequently occur due to this kind of negligence and result in the following types of accidents:

  • Slip and fall or trip and fall, usually from slippery or poorly maintained ladders, decks, and gangways
  • Falls through open hatches
  • Crushing or severing of arms, legs, or fingers by improperly secured hatches, portholes, equipment, or cargo
  • Crane or winch failure
  • Back injury, shoulder injury, or neck injury from excessive, repetitive motions such as pulling in overloaded nets or traps with improper technique
  • Limbs caught up in machinery, rigging, or netting
  • Falling overboard due to broken or missing safety guards, or working in conditions too rough and dangerous
  • Line handling

When these types of accidents and injuries occur due to a commercial fishing company’s negligence, you have a right to pursue damages under the Jones Act and general maritime law. An experienced maritime attorney at BoatLaw, LLP will be able to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.

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Wrongful Death and Commercial Fishing

Unfortunately, many accidents aboard a commercial fishing boat result not just in injury, but in death. Numerous studies show that cold water commercial fishing is the most dangerous job in the U.S. From 2010-2014, about 188 commercial fishermen died in the U.S: 75% died from drowning; 43% was due to vessel disasters; 30% were from falls overboard; and 16% resulted from onboard injuries.

Many of the accidents that result in the fatality of a fisherman can be prevented through practical measures by the commercial fishing company. If your family member or loved one was a crewmember of a commercial fishing vessel and died on duty, you may have a wrongful death claim under maritime law, such as the Jones Act or the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). An experienced Washington, Oregon, California, or Alaska maritime wrongful death attorney will be able to determine what damages you could qualify for under these acts.

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Recoverable Damages in a Commercial Fishing Accident

The damages your commercial fishing accident case is entitled to vary based on the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as the amount of negligence involved and if you were in national or international waters. These details affect what maritime law applies to your case, and, therefore, what kind of damages you can pursue. Generally, you are eligible to recover the damages directly related to the commercial fishing accident, including:

  • Maintenance and cure
  • Medical costs (past and future)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Reduced or lost capacity to work
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of support (for wrongful death)
  • Loss of services (for wrongful death)
  • Funeral expenses (for wrongful death)

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BoatLaw, LLP | Maritime Injury Lawyers for Commercial Fishermen

If you or your loved one suffered an injury or death in a commercial fishing accident, contact the experienced maritime attorneys of BoatLaw, LLP. We have offices in Seattle, Bellingham, Portland, and San Francisco, and we will fight for you to get the compensation and justice you deserve. For your free initial consultation with BoatLaw, LLP on your commercial fishermen injury case, call 1 (800) 262-8529 today.


  • 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.