In recent years, popular TV shows have garnered loyal followings by exhibiting the hazardous nature of the job duties performed by commercial fishermen each and every day. Long hours, dangerous weather conditions, and the risk of serious injury are only some of the perils faced by these brave workers.
However, these broadcasts have failed to highlight the trauma experienced by victims of commercial fishing injuries. Our maritime injury lawyers are all too familiar with the pain & suffering associated with these tragic incidents, and they can help those affected to seek the compensation they deserve.
In the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the regulatory body responsible for tracking and categorizing commercial fishing deaths. Their latest report, which analyzed commercial fishing workplace deaths from the year 2000-2015, registered a total of 725 deaths within the industry. This figure represents:
Moreover, the rate of 117 fatalities per 100,000 workers is 10 times greater than the 4 fatalities per 100,000 workers rate corresponding to US workers as a whole.
What the NIOSH's report didn't speak to was the number of non-lethal injuries suffered by commercial fishermen. One can only "guesstimate" that this figure is magnitudes larger than the number of deaths.
Furthermore, the NIOSH report also categorized the types of hazards which are most often responsible for commercial fishing injuries and deaths. We expand on these next.
Tallying in at 50%, vessel disasters were the leading cause of fatalities in the industry. A vessel disaster is an incident in which the integrity of a commercial fishing boat is compromised, for instance by flooding, being struck by large or rogue waves, and any other cause of vessel instability. More than half of vessel disaster incidents were found to be a result of severe weather conditions.
This category speaks to incidents where a commercial fisherman is injured or killed on the boat deck. Commercial fishing boat decks are usually wet which makes it very easy to slip and fall on them. Additionally, on deck is where high-tension lines and cables, as well as hydraulic haulers and winches, are present and being operated, which opens the door for injuries leading to amputations and/or death.
Commercial fishing accidents where a deckhand fell overboard and lost their life made up 30% of all fatalities. Many of these are not witnessed, so it is unclear why workers fall overboard.
Since commercial fishermen are not required to wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) while on-the-clock, they usually don't since it would likely interfere with their ability to perform job duties efficiently. Regrettably, this also makes it much more unlikely that a fisherman who falls overboard will survive their ordeal.
The final, catch-all category encompasses 9% of commercial fisherman deaths and includes diving incidents as well as onshore injuries.
Victims of commercial fishing accidents have the right to seek compensation for damages incurred while on-the-job. If the incident resulted in the death of the fisherman, then surviving family members may likewise have the potential to file a claim.
It's important to understand that the laws surrounding commercial fishing injuries and achieving compensation are different from those that apply to "mainland" employees. As a result, when it comes time to seek compensation or remuneration for damages, it's vital to seek the representation of a legal professional who knows the relevant regulations. A commercial fishing injury attorney is just the person for this job.
By retaining the services of a commercial fishing injury lawyer, victims can have the chance of achieving compensation that covers:
The specific type of compensation that may be pursued varies from case to case. If you're unsure which types of compensation you may be entitled to after a commercial fishing accident, contact our experienced law firm today for a free consultation. You'll get the answers to any legal questions you may have and be able to make an informed decision. Most importantly, you'll be under no obligation to work with us after your free case review, so you've got nothing to lose. Schedule a free legal consultation today.