Can I Seek Compensation for Commercial Fishing Accidents?
The American commercial fishing industry caught over eight billion pounds of seafood worth more than 4.4 billion dollars in 2008. There are about 115,000 harvesters catching this bounty. There is no doubt, however, that commercial fishing accidents are too common and that they can be deadly; falling overboard is the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen. Between 2000 and 2013, 191 commercial fishermen drowned; none of them was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). A workplace injury lawyer who specializes in maritime law can help you navigate the system after an injury or a family member’s untimely death.
The U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 only requires the Coast Guard to inspect fishing vessel safety equipment every two years. The law does not require dockside inspections of the boats themselves. This leaves a lot of vessel safety up to vessel owners and therefore puts employees at risk.
Commercial Fishing Accidents
Compared to other occupations, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous in the United States. Commercial fishermen often face hazardous and strenuous working conditions including long hours and extreme weather conditions. Between 2000 and 2010, an average of 46 commercial fishermen died on the job which works out to 124 deaths per 100,000 workers. Among all U.S. workers the rate is four per 100,000 workers.
Commercial Fishing Incidents from 2000-2010
- 545 commercial fishermen died on the job
- Fifty-one percent of all fatalities happened after a vessel disaster
- Thirty-one percent of fatalities occurred when a fisherman fell overboard
- Ten-percent of fatalities were the result of an on board injury
- Seven percent of fatalities occurred while diving or from onshore injuries
Known Causes of Commercial Fishing Fatalities
- Twenty-Eight percent were the result of a flooding
- 19 percent were as a result of vessel instability
- 18 percent were a result of the vessel being struck by a large wave
- Severe weather conditions were a factor in 61 percent of all fatal vessel disasters
A review of commercial fishing fatalities around the U.S. between 2000 and 2009 found that the East Coast region had the highest number of fatalities followed by Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Coast. One hundred and sixty-one fishermen died on the East Coast during that period. Alaska accounted for 133 deaths, the Gulf of Mexico suffered 116 deaths, and the West Coast had 83 deaths.
Seek the help of a Maritime Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured due to the reckless/negligent behavior of another seaman or maritime employer, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced maritime injury attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a maritime accident lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing maritime accident attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing grieving family members in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!