Seeking Compensation for Commercial Fishing Injuries By Michael Shelton on March 13, 2022

commercial fishermenCommercial fishing is strenuous work and comes with some of the most hazardous work conditions of any occupation. Harsh weather, slippery decks, heavy equipment, and long work hours can all lead to serious accidents. Maritime Law and the Jones Act cover qualifying sailors in maritime accidents, making it possible to recover compensation from an employer for injuries sustained while at sea.  

At The Shelton Law Firm, attorney Michael E. Shelton represents clients with commercial fishing injuries in and around Houston, TX, to help them get the compensation they deserve. If you have suffered a commercial fishing injury, contact our law firm to find out how we can help you.   

The Hazards of Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing is a dangerous occupation. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), commercial fishing sees an average of 117 deaths per 100,000 workers per year compared to an average of 4 deaths per year among all U.S. workers. 

Further, a NIOSH review of 2000–2015 data for the commercial fishing industry revealed that: 

  • nearly 50% of commercial fishermen deaths occurred after a vessel disaster 
  • 30% of deaths occurred from falling overboard
  • 12% of deaths occurred as a result of an injury onboard
  • 9% of deaths occurred while diving or from onshore injuries

Hazards are present everywhere in commercial fishing and with such a high rate of fatalities, it’s not surprising that workers in the commercial fishing industry face a high risk of injuries. 

Causes of Commercial Fishing Injuries

Commercial fishing is laborious work that is directly affected by the weather and ocean. Because of this, accidents on commercial fishing boats can have many possible causes. Some of the most common include: 

  • Moving heavy objects
  • Hauling in nets or loading and unloading catches
  • Wounds from marine animals, such as crabs
  • Severe weather
  • Rogue waves
  • Slippery decks
  • Vessel accidents (colliding with another vessel or grounding in shallow waters)
  • Poorly maintained ship or equipment
  • Engine fires
  • Chemical exposure
  • Insufficient training
  • Ignoring or lack of safety protocols
  • Exhaustion from long work shifts 

Types of Commercial Fishing Injuries

Commercial fishing is dangerous and full of potential hazards. Accidents are common and while most Houston fishermen recover, some accidents are severe enough to cause long term damage. 

Injuries sustained in the commercial fishing industry are wide ranging and may include injuries such as:

  • Back or shoulder strains and sprains
  • Penetrating wounds, commonly to the hand, fingers, or wrist
  • Burns (fire or chemical)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Loss of limbs 
  • Neck injuries
  • Slip and fall injuries

Who Is Liable for Commercial Fishermen Injuries?

Under the Jones Act, commercial fishermen and other commercial mariners can recover compensation for injuries or deaths that occurred while working onboard a sea vessel from liable employers.

In order to be deemed liable, it must be proved that the employer was negligent or the vessel wasn’t seaworthy. An attorney can review the details of your case to determine whether negligence occurred and help present a strong case if negligence was identified.    

Contact The Shelton Law Firm

To discuss your options for recovering compensation for commercial fishing injuries, call our Houston law firm at (713) 807-0700 or schedule a consultation online

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Michael E. Shelton

The Shelton Law Firm

Personal injury attorney Michael E. Shelton has been representing victims of catastrophic injuries in Houston, Texas, for nearly 50 years. He is proud to be a union card holder as a journeyman pipefitter and General Counsel for the Texas Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO. He is affiliated with several prestigious organizations, including:

  • The Texas Bar Association
  • The Houston Bar Association
  • The Louisiana State Bar
  • The Louisiana Association for Justice

If you are the victim of a personal injury, schedule a free consultation with The Shelton Law Firm today by contacting us online or calling (713) 807-0700.

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