Commercial Fishing Accidents

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Commercial Fishing Accidents

It is easy for consumers to take the amount of seafood that is constantly available in restaurants and grocery stores for granted. In 2008 alone, more than 8 billion pounds of seafood worth $4.4 billion was harvested. But this abundance comes at a price: maritime workers endure grueling conditions and long work days to make this staple of our diet available. The numbers reflect the risks of commercial fishing: the fatalities in this industry are more than 25 times that of the national average of all other workers.

Common Factors in Fishing Accidents

There are many factors at play in keeping a commercial fishing vessel as safe for its crew members as possible. Oftentimes weather conditions are very inclement and lead to crew members falling overboard. Though the weather is not a factor that can be controlled, there are several ways a fishing boat can be made safer:

  • Fishing operations can be suspended during extremely dangerous weather conditions
  • Personal flotation devices should be worn at all times
  • Monthly drills should be implemented for all crew members to review safety procedures in cases of flooding, etc.
  • Man overboard alarms and retrieval devices and procedures should be implemented and reviewed on a periodic basis
  • Emergency stop (e-stop) devices should be installed on machinery to prevent serious injury or death
  • Immersion suits that are intended to protect crew from frigid water temperatures should be tested for water-tightness
  • Mesh guards and side rails should be installed on decks

Because 31% of deaths on commercial fishing boats occur from falling overboard, any measure that can be taken to help prevent falls, and that can help ensure the safety and recovery of crew members if they have fallen overboard, should be taken.

Negligence On-board

Negligence on-board a fishing boat can take many forms. Whether it is the negligence of your fellow crew member or your employer or your captain, you can recover damages for the injuries you sustain as a result of another’s negligence.

Your employer has the duty to properly maintain equipment, to provide sufficient crew for each task, and to train and provide adequate instructions at all times. Even if proper safety equipment is on-board, often even the captain doesn’t know how to use it properly, or isn’t enforcing its use. All of these actions or inactions can constitute negligence.

Common Injuries in Fishing Accidents

  • Brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Crush injuries leading to severe muscle damage or amputation
  • Death
  • Ensnare injuries from using a winch on-board

An Attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can help

You need an attorney that can ensure that your employer is held responsible. Whether you were injured and have had to find a different line of work as a result, or you are no longer able to work, you need an experienced, aggressive attorney that can make sure you and your family can get back on track. Contact us today to begin the process of recovery.
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