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Common Injuries Commercial Fishermen Face and What They Can Do After an Accident

Posted in Get To Know Maritime Law, High Seas, High Risk: Offshore Injury on October 2, 2018

Working as an offshore fisherman is not easy and comes with risks that are not found in the average job. These risks greatly increase when employers are negligent or fail to provide adequate working conditions for their laborers.

The Houston maritime lawyers at Lapeze & Johns understand these difficulties and care for your well-being. We are ready to fight to get you the justice you and your family deserve. You should not pay for the negligence of your employers.

How Injuries Occur

Some of the most common causes of injuries aboard fishing vessels include:

  • Loose equipment (ropes, nets, and other machinery)
  • Inappropriate boat conditions (unsignaled hazards, slippery deck)
  • Old/unmaintained railings and ladders
  • Reckless orders from the captain
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Machines and containers not being properly handled
  • Falling through open hatchets
  • Broken equipment (cranes or winches not working properly)

Common Injuries

Offshore injuries are often quite serious and can even be life-threatening. That is why requesting to be taken ashore for immediate medical attention after an accident should be one of your highest priorities as an offshore fisherman.

Some of the most common injuries offshore fishermen face are:

  • Back Injuries: Though they might not always be life-threatening, they can strongly impact a fisherman’s ability to lift heavy weight, thus affecting their earning potential.
  • Burns: Among the most dangerous injuries, severe burns not only affects the worker’s future ability to perform their job but can also leave them disfigured with emotional scars.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs): These can lead to paralysis of one or more limbs.
  • Brain injuries (TBIs): These kinds of injuries can affect the worker’s cognitive ability and normal neurological functions.
  • Amputations: This could happen either during the accident or as an after-effect of an accident. Whichever situation, it is one of the most traumatic accidents possible.
  • Crush Injuries: If the worker is crushed in between equipment or by equipment, they could suffer crushed bones.
  • Orthopedic Injuries: This includes bone fractures, dislocations, or injury to joints or connective tissue. This can leave a permanent effect in the worker’s performance since the bone and/or tissues are permanently affected.
  • Eye injuries: These can lead to blindness which would not allow the injured party to work in the maritime industry ever again.

What Are Your Options

Your best bet is to enlist the help of a maritime lawyer who will be able to help you understand all your options, as well as properly investigate and document your accident. This way, you can make sure to get the compensation you deserve.

Remember, seamen, including fishermen, are not covered by the Worker’s Compensation Fund. However, seamen can be covered by the Jones Act. A lawyer would help you to understand whether you are considered as a seaman under the Jones Act, which would mean you would have the right to seek compensation.

It is not difficult to be proven as a seaman under the Jones Act but it could be tricky. You would need to pass a three-part test:

  • Are you professionally linked to a vessel which currently navigates on the water?

  • Do you have a provable employment connection to this vessel or fleet of vessels in terms of time served or the nature of your job requirements?

  • Does your job, and what you do, make a significant contribution to the function of the vessel?

If you answered yes to all three of the previous questions, you are most likely a protected seaman under the Jones Act. Compensation can cover but is not limited to:

  • Current medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future wages

The Houston maritime lawyers at Lapeze & Johns are ready and prepared to fight for your cause.

Contact us today for your complimentary case review.

With over 30 years of experience of helping maritime workers along the Gulf Coast, you can put your trust in the hands of our professional offshore lawyers. Contact us at (713)739-1010 to schedule a case review.

We are here to fight for the justice you deserve.