Commercial fishing or crabbing can be a lucrative endeavor, but it is a dangerous occupation. Workplace injuries are common among commercial fisherman and may be covered under the Jones Act.
Results of a survey of injuries among commercial fishers
One survey of 215 commercial fishers examined common workplace injuries in commercial fishing and crabbing. Of the 215 respondents, 83 reported having been injured on the job within the past year.
Of these injuries, 47% were penetration wounds and 24% were sprains. Of the penetration injuries, 32% wound up becoming infected. 80% of fishers who suffered penetration injuries reported coming in contact with marine wildlife.
Of the strains/sprains, 70% resulted from the movement of heavy objects or while loading or unloading the fishing vessel.
The most common body part injured were hands, wrists and fingers at 50% of the injuries. Back injuries were the second most common body part injured at 13% of the injuries.
Commercial fishermen and the Jones Act
Commercial fisherman injured on the job may find financial relief through the Jones Act, as they are generally not covered by state workers’ compensation laws.
Sometimes a commercial fisherman’s injuries are caused by negligence. For example, equipment malfunctions due to inadequate maintenance or insufficient training of new workers could lead to a workplace injury on a fishing vessel.
If you qualify for compensation under the Jones Act you could receive damages for lost wages, pain and suffering and doctor and hospital bills. This compensation can help you during a difficult time until you are back on your feet and back at the job.