Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

Were you injured after falling overboard?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Commercial Fishing Accidents, Frequent Injuries and Accidents

Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous industries in the country. There are many types of injuries you face as a commercial fisherman in Washington, including back injuries, shoulder injuries, repetitive motion injuries or injuries from a slip and fall.

While many times these injuries are serious, sometimes they can be fatal. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2019 the commercial fishing industry had a fatality rate over 40 times the national average.

There are various causes of injuries or fatalities, including working with heavy and dangerous machinery, inadequate training or poor weather conditions. Another common cause is falling overboard. A fall is often survivable, especially with proper precautions.

Personal flotation devices

Wearing a personal flotation device can help prevent you from slipping on the deck and falling overboard. However, sometimes these devices get in the way and prevent you from doing your job.

Wear one whenever you can while still performing your job duties. This will keep you afloat after you fall overboard while search and recovery efforts begin.

Your vessel should have recovery devices and ladders to recover someone who goes overboard. Additionally, holding monthly drills on how to handle a fall overboard situation can reduce the number of serious or fatal accidents.

One factor that makes falling overboard so dangerous is that many falls are not witnessed. Your vessel should have a man-overboard system in place that alerts the crew that someone has fallen overboard. This system should include GPS or navigation capability to pinpoint your location.

Falls overboard can happen due to negligently maintained conditions aboard vessels. Commercial fishing boat decks are usually wet and slippery which makes it easy to slip and fall on them. This could lead to a fall overboard.

A fall overboard can be tragic

Recovery after an injury from falling overboard can take a long time and cause you major pain and suffering. Between medical bills and the cost of treating your injuries, your costs can quickly add up.

Healing from your injuries could also cause you to be out of work and be hesitant about returning to the commercial fishing industry. You might experience mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder from the tragedy.

Holding those responsible for your injuries accountable through legal action can help you obtain compensation for your losses. Building a strong case for negligence increases your chance of recovering this compensation.