Commercial Fishing Accidents

Commercial fishermen have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States, with fishermen dying at a rate of 39 times higher than the national average. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the greatest dangers to fishermen are-

  • Vessel disasters – account for a full 50 percent of commercial fishermen deaths from 2000 to 2014.
  • Falls overboard- are the second leading cause of death for these workers, with 210 falls overboard over the 14-year period.
  • Deck safety – deck injuries account for 12 percent of fatal injuries and the greatest number of fishermen hospitalizations for non-fatal injuries in the U.S., including slip, trip and fall injuries. On-deck machinery, tension lines, and hauler and winch cables are highly dangerous and are responsible for many amputations and fatalities. *source

These types of accidents account for 92 percent of all commercial fishermen fatalities.

Diving injuries account for about 5 percent of the fatality rate, with the most common causes of death being

  • Running out of air
  • Equipment malfunction or failure
  • Entanglement

On-shore injuries account for the smallest number of fatalities (3 percent) with the most common causes of death being –

  • Falling from dock into water and drowning
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals

Most severe non-fatal injuries happen during the deployment or retrieval of gear and may include –

  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Crushed limbs

When these accidents occur because of the negligence of the vessel owner or because of the actions of a crew member, these divers may be able to seek compensation for their injuries under maritime law. The Jones Act affords commercial fishermen the right to seek recovery from their employer if the employer was negligent, and the Death on the High Seas Act allows the family members of workers who died as a result of the employer’s negligence to seek damages.

While these laws are in place to protect the people who make their living on the seas, the laws are complex, and proof of negligence is often a requirement for successful claims. If you have been seriously injured or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal commercial fishing accident, speak to us as soon as possible. We have decades of experience in fighting for people in the commercial maritime industries, and we stand ready to fight for you. Fill out the form for more information.

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