Wilmington, NC Commercial Fishing Boat Accident Lawyer

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Maritime workers face a significant risk of on-the-job injuries. Work-related fatalities are at least 40% higher in commercial fishing than in most other industries.

Thousands of commercial fishing employees work in the waters near Wilmington, NC. You could sustain an injury on a commercial fishing vessel, or a loved one might lose their life in a fishing vessel accident. In such cases, you can benefit from hiring a competent injury lawyer. Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys will work to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Why Should You Call a Fishing Boat Accident Attorney?

State laws typically mandate that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, most commercial fishing operations do not have to purchase workers’ comp policies. Fortunately, maritime workers can still receive compensation for work-related injuries.

Having the right to compensation doesn’t necessarily mean that what you receive is enough to cover your damages. If negligence is responsible for your accident and resulting injuries, you must prove it to demonstrate liability. To prove negligence, you must show that:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care (maintaining a safe work environment)
  • That party breached their duty of care
  • The breach caused or contributed to an accident
  • You suffered injuries because of the accident

Your fishing boat accident attorney from Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys understands maritime laws and can assist you with injury claims.

How Can Injured Maritime Workers Get Compensation?

Maritime laws state that employers must pay maintenance and cure to employees that face injury on the job while in navigable waters. The maintenance portion of this payment provides daily living expenses, while the cure component covers medical costs. However, these benefits are limited.

Employers must pay maintenance and cure only until no additional medical treatments will further recovery or until the worker can return to duty. These benefits don’t account for other types of damages. An experienced fishing boat accident lawyer can tell you if you qualify for additional benefits.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act, provides additional protections for injured fishing vessel workers. If you are on a vessel in navigation while performing 30% or more of your job duties, the Jones Act covers you.

If any form of negligence contributes to your injury or illness, the Jones Act allows you to seek compensation from your employer. Examples of negligence include:

  • Poorly maintained or inadequate equipment
  • Insufficient training
  • Assault
  • The presence of slippery substances on the deck or no caution signage

Your fishing boat accident attorney will investigate, gather evidence, and determine liability. We will seek compensation for you under all available statutes.

Why Is Commercial Fishing Dangerous?

Commercial fishing workers may face many dangers. These include:

  • Hazardous weather conditions and unruly seas
  • Fires
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Long shifts
  • Slippery decks

Many workers sustain injuries because of the following:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents onboard
  • Falls overboard
  • Sharp equipment
  • Other equipment failures

Captains may also make unwise decisions that endanger the vessel and its occupants. Regardless of the cause, contacting a fishing boat accident lawyer is wise to ensure that you obtain appropriate compensation for your injuries.

What Are Common Fishing Vessel Injuries?

A variety of injuries can occur on fishing vessels. Some result from a single accident, while others develop over time. Single accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and puncture wounds
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries
  • Drowning

Some injuries or illnesses develop over time, but eligible workers may still seek compensation. Many jobs on fishing vessels require repetitive motions, which can cause back and wrist injuries. Exposure to certain substances or sick crew members while on board can cause illnesses.

If your injury or illness originates onboard a fishing vessel, you likely qualify to receive compensation. Ask your fishing boat accident attorney if you can seek damages and how much your case is worth.

Are There Safety Regulations for Commercial Fishing Vessels?

Laws require commercial fishing vessels to follow many safety regulations to protect the boat and its crew. These vessels should be seaworthy. Rules for crafts that operate more than three miles offshore may vary. Fishing vessel regulations include:

  • Carrying survival craft that meets specifications
  • Maintaining a maintenance and repair log
  • Undergoing Coast Guard safety exams
  • Training certain crew members to command the vessel
  • Meeting construction standards
  • Providing safety training, drills, and emergency instructions

To be seaworthy, a vessel must have a hull and equipment that are adequately designed and maintained. Their crews must also be competent. Unsafe conditions can make a boat unseaworthy, even if it can still operate.

What Should You Do After a Fishing Boat Accident?

You must complete several steps after an accident to protect your health and right to compensation. Your fishing boat accident attorney will use the documentation and evidence you provide when building your case.

Seek medical treatment

Visit your vessel’s medical personnel for an examination and treatment. If your injury requires onshore care, but your employer refuses, keep records of your requests and their denials. You can choose your onshore medical providers. Continue your recommended medical treatments.

Report your injury

You must always report accidents to your supervisor as soon as possible. Be sure to get a copy of the incident report and ensure that your accident and injury are recorded in the ship’s log.

Gather evidence

Use your phone to take pictures or videos of pertinent accident details, including:

  • Your injuries
  • Equipment or conditions that caused or contributed to your accident
  • Witnesses and their statements
  • The entire accident scene from multiple angles

You should also record your recollection of how the accident happened.

Consult an experienced lawyer

Fishing boat accident claims differ from most personal injury cases because of the laws and conditions involved. An attorney who focuses on work-related injuries will likely get better results.

Do You Need a Fishing Boat Accident Attorney?

If you sustained injuries on a fishing boat, you deserve compensation. Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can help. You should contact us today for your free case evaluation and pay no fees unless we win compensation for you. Call us at 910-405-7751 or complete our contact form.

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