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Bait and Catch: Obtaining Fair Compensation After a Fishing Boat Injury

Mar 20, 2015 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

Fishermen are, by nature, tough, durable and able to withstand an uncomfortable and dangerous work environment. Still, a commercial fishing outfit is subject to the same workplace and premises safety laws as any other employer and you are owed a duty of care and precaution.

If you were recently injured while working for a commercial fishing entity and believe it may be due to negligence on the part of your supervisor/employer, contact Dodson & Hooks APLC right away – you may be entitled to compensation and other rights under state and federal law.

Negligence in the Fishing Industry

Fishing outfits only earn what they can catch, making it an industry conducive to long, grueling hours and nonstop pursuit of the next big haul. Oftentimes, safety precautions and reasonable workplace practices are thrown to the wayside, creating a perfect storm for accidents and mishaps.

Negligence occurs whenever one party owes a duty of care to another party and fails to meet this burden. In the context of commercial fishing, negligence can take many forms, including:

  • Failure to inspect and maintain the vessel for safety violations
  • Untrained staff members
  • Outdated technology
  • Broken or dilapidated ship components
  • Forcing the crew to work in inclement weather
  • Requiring unhealthy work hours
  • Failing to properly treat injuries, or refusing to allow a worker to seek treatment

Of course, the list of actionable conduct is not limited to these scenarios, and your employer could face liability for a wide range of acts or omissions.

The Applicability of the Jones Act

The Jones Act is a maritime law which includes a special provision allowing covered employees to seek damages against their employer under a personal injury lawsuit. This statute covers all domestic seamen working on vessels at least 30 percent of time, and expands the common law negligence doctrine to include those engaged in maritime commerce.

The Jones Act is applicable to a number of different commercial fishing outfits, including shrimp and crab operations. Reportedly, Louisiana crabbing outfits produce up to 30 million pounds of crab per year, creating any number of hazardous and dangerous situations.

Likewise, shrimp boats in Louisiana contributed 74 million pounds of shrimp to the American economy in 2010, making it one of the largest producers in the world. With this rate of production, it is not a stretch to imagine that overloaded crab pots, tangled fishing lines and overworked crew members make crabbing and shrimping one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S.

Contact an Experienced Maritime Attorney Today!

To learn how the experienced attorneys of Dodson & Hooks APLC can help you recover from the expense and difficulty of a commercial shipping injury, give us a call today. We are Baton Rouge’s premier fishing accident law firm and look forward to hearing from you today. Call us at (225) 372-1666.

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