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Fishermen’s mental health gets new attention

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Maritime Claims

Washington commercial fishermen are dedicated to their jobs and work exceedingly hard. The job is difficult, but rewarding. Still, there are inherent risks that accompany it and it can take a toll on workers not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Greater attention is being paid to how the stresses of the job negatively impact workers. What workers need to be aware of is that the Jones Act provides benefits to workers who have post-traumatic stress disorder, have anxiety issues, are depressed and are dealing with similar problems. This is such a growing concern that the U.S. Senate is acting in a bipartisan manner.

For workers who are seeking compensation for any reason – whether they are suffering from mental health problems or were injured because another worker was negatively impacted by their mental health – it is important to know how to maximize compensation for the time they are off the job and to get treatment.

Fish Wellness Act meant to help fishermen with their mental health

The Fish Wellness Act makes a link between fishermen’s mental health and their safety was made. Given the known dangers of the commercial fishing industry, it is understandable that workers are feeling the stress of their occupation.

Statistically, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says that in the decade from 2013 to 2022, there were 25 onboard fatalities on fishing vessels. It is believed that 17 had mental health as at least a partial factor.

Among the stressors that workers face is the physically arduous nature of the work and the need to produce at a certain level to meet quotas. They might have been mentally scarred by a past incident. If a worker suffers an injury and is off the job or has a mental issue, it is imperative to be cognizant of how to get benefits under the Jones Act.

Understand the Jones Act and know how to get benefits

Under the Jones Act, fishermen and other seamen can receive compensation if they were injured on the job. This is to ensure they get the same coverage a land-based worker would get through workers’ compensation. The injury and how it occurred will be investigated and the worker’s prospects assessed.

Based on maintenance and cure, the worker can receive coverage for medical costs and lost wages. They can also receive payments for pain and suffering and long-term damage they might have suffered. In cases where there are questions about how it occurred and what the proximate cause was, it is imperative to be fully prepared to find evidence and proceed. To get everything a worker is entitled to – especially in cases where a worker’s mental state might have contributed to the accident – it is vital to have comprehensive assistance from people trusted by seamen, maritime workers and their families.