Workplace Hazards for Commercial Fishermen

Commercial fishermen enjoy active, physically demanding work that often pays competitively. However, this career path can also be quite dangerous. Fishermen face a much higher-than-average injury and fatality rates when compared to other industries, so with any fishing excursion, there is always a risk that it could be the end of someone’s career.

If you’ve been injured while working as a commercial fisherman, it’s important to understand your rights and learn about the compensation you can receive. Call Fuquay Law Firm today at 251-219-0329 to schedule a consultation.

Dangers Faced by Commercial Fishermen

The work conditions of commercial fishermen are virtually unknown to anyone outside this industry. Danger lurks around every corner. Some of the most common sources of injury for commercial fishermen include:

  • Commercial boats rely on complex machinery to manage daily work, and when this machinery is used unsafely or malfunctions, it’s often fishermen who pay the price.
  • This includes falls on deck, which may occur when the boat hits turbulent waters or a fisherman slips, and falls overboard, which can result in hypothermia or drowning.
  • Explosions can occur as a result of malfunctioning equipment or chemical reactions. However, they put everyone on board at risk of serious injuries and death.
  • Cold water shock. A fisherman encountering colder-than-expected waters or left in the water for too long can suffer from cold water shock, which can kill you as your limbs become incapacitated and hypothermia sets in.
  • Capsizing and collision. This is a risk of any work aboard a vessel, and even strong swimmers can find themselves unable to hold on long enough to be rescued.
  • Commercial fishermen may cut themselves on sharp bits of fish bone, leaving them exposed to infection from bugs and fish. Unless treated promptly, infections can spread and become serious.
  • Exposure to chemicals used aboard fishing vessels can cause serious illness over time.
  • Loud noises. While loud noises are unlikely to cause fatal injuries, they can do enough damage to the ears that fishermen may suffer permanent hearing loss.

Uncontrollable Dangers

Some dangers cannot be predicted or controlled, thanks to Mother Nature. Fishermen who find themselves working during a storm, in extreme hot or cold temperatures, or in dangerously windy conditions are at even higher risk of severe injuries.

Safety Tips for Commercial Fishermen

While you can never fully eliminate risk in the workplace, there are things that fishermen and other seamen can do to protect themselves. Use these safety tips to make each day out on the water less risky:

  • Be aware of weather conditions before going out on a trip. Plan for every possible outcome, even if the weather seems like it will be mild for the duration of the trip.
  • Know how to use all of the safety equipment aboard the vessel you’re working on. Additionally, review the locations of first aid kits and other tools you’ll need to handle minor injuries and illnesses.
  • Review safety protocols of a vessel before going aboard. Don’t stray from these protocols, even if pressured to by other seamen working with you. This is how injuries happen.

What to Do If You Get Hurt at Work

No matter how careful you are, injuries do happen at sea. When they do, it’s crucial to know your rights and take the right steps to protect them.

First, you should report the injury to your immediate superior. You may have to sign paperwork describing the injury and how it occurred. It’s also important to seek medical care right away. This might mean seeing a doctor once the boat docks, or it might mean having a doctor come to the boat if your injury is serious enough.

After that, talk to an attorney with experience in maritime law and the Jones Act. Commercial fishermen do not have access to the same workers’ compensation benefits as those who work in other industries, but they are entitled to maintenance and cure under general maritime law and the Jones Act.

Choose Fuquay Law Firm for Your Workplace Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured while working aboard a vessel, you may be entitled to maintenance and cure. Learn more about your options and how to get the compensation you deserve by calling Fuquay Law Firm. You can contact us online or give us a call at 251-219-0329 to set up your consultation.

Important Steps to Take After a Cruise Ship Injury

The time you spend on a cruise ship should be relaxing and give you a break from daily life. However, a substantial amount of cruise ship injuries are reported every year. While any personal injury (or workplace injury, if you are a cruise ship employee) should be tended to immediately, circumstances are different on a cruise ship. These types of injuries often have a different statute of limitations and reporting requirements, which is why it is important to get in touch with a maritime law attorney right away.

To discuss your cruise ship injury and compensation options, call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-219-0329 to set up a consultation.

Risks You Face on a Cruise Ship

Cruise ships offer ramped-up versions of many of the amenities people enjoy on land, but without the safety of fully equipped hospitals just a short drive away. With the free-flowing food and alcohol, mistakes are easy to make and injuries often follow. Some of the injuries you may suffer aboard a cruise ship include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Swimming pool accidents or injuries
  • Sexual assault
  • Food poisoning
  • Athletic injuries
  1. Get Checked Out as Soon as Possible

After any personal injury, it is crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. This creates a direct link between the accident you were in and the injuries you sustained. Make sure you get copies of any medical reports you receive and ask for follow-up instructions. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you may be able to get all the care you need onboard or you may have to leave the ship for more extensive treatment.

  1. Report the Accident Promptly

You must report the accident to management as soon as possible. This will often happen once you seek medical treatment, as they need to follow strict protocols to figure out exactly what happened and what their obligations are. When reporting the accident, request a copy of their security guide. This contains more information about who to report injuries to and what to do if your injuries were caused by criminal activity—for example, an injury cause by an assault versus one caused by a slip and fall.

  1. Be Careful What You Say or Sign

The people you report your injuries to may ask you to sign paperwork or documentation about your injuries. Read everything carefully before you sign, and make sure that you don’t sign anything that waives your right to file a lawsuit or seek compensation. They may try to rush you through the paperwork instead of letting you read it but stand your ground and refuse to sign it until you have read it in full. Ask for copies of anything you sign.

  1. Collect Evidence and Make Copies

Evidence is essential in a personal injury case, so gather as much as possible. It is often helpful to enlist a friend or family member during this step, particularly if you have to receive medical treatment.

Take pictures of the scene of the accident and of your injuries. Get video footage of the area, including any identifying details and items that factored into your injury. If any stopped to help you after your injury or stated that they saw the accident happen, make sure you get their contact information.

Make backup copies of any evidence you have.

  1. Hire a Maritime Law Attorney

It is important that you work with a personal injury attorney with substantial experience in maritime law, rather than a general personal injury lawyer without experience in cruise ship injury cases. Cruise ships are subject to different laws than injuries that occur on land, and without the proper legal representation, you could lose your chance to seek compensation. When you choose an attorney, bring copies of all your evidence and be ready to move quickly on your claim or lawsuit. You may have to file promptly to avoid missing the deadline.

Turn to Fuquay Law Firm During This Challenging Time

If you or someone you love has been injured on a cruise ship, take this opportunity to find an attorney who will guide you through this process. The team at Fuquay Law Firm has substantial experience in maritime injury cases, and they’re here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or calling us at 251-219-0329.