Commercial Fishing Accidents

Commercial Fishing is a dangerous job. It attracts only the men and women who are physically and mentally tough enough to handle the high demands of such employment. At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, our maritime injury attorneys know fishermen and their problems. Living and working conditions aboard a commercial fishing boat are far different than working at a shoreside desk job or working as salesperson. Not just anyone is capable of working 18 hour shifts for days, and sometimes weeks, at a time in heavy seas that can reach 25 feet in height or more.

If you are a commercial fisherman who has been injured at sea, please call 866-974-9633 and speak with a maritime law attorney at our law firm today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. It costs you nothing to find out if we can help. From our office in Seattle, we represent injured seamen from all over the country on a contingency basis. You will pay no attorney fees unless we win money damages for you.

We Understand The Risks You Take

Fishermen earn high wages, but they are constantly at risk for serious personal injury unless safety precautions are followed. Fishermen must be in excellent physical condition, and be prepared and ready to act or react instantly in a time of danger, or they will place themselves and their fellow crewmen at risk for injury and possible death. Even minor injuries may preclude a fisherman from safely returning to work at their previous job as a fisherman. There is no safe place aboard a fishing boat for a crewman with a seriously injured hand, a bad back, or a bum knee.

Fishermen, including captains, mates, engineers, cooks, deckhands, processors, and fish factory workers who are injured aboard commercial fishing vessels are protected and entitled to benefits under the federal maritime law and the Jones Act. Benefits and compensation for injured fisherman include payment without proof of fault of all reasonable and necessary medical bills until maximum medical improvement is reached, payment of maintenance, and unearned wages. Additionally, upon proof of negligence or unseaworthiness, an injured fisherman is entitled to payment of past and future lost wages, retraining expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement.

How We Can Help You Win Your Case

At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, our maritime injury lawyers have represented countless injured fishermen, successfully helping them settle their claims. To learn if we can help you, please call us at 866-974-9633 for a free consultation.

Rarely does a fishing accident case not have some evidentiary problems. Frequent problems and issues that arise in cases involving fisherman include preexisting medical problems or prior injuries, lack of tax returns and earning records, child support liens, criminal histories, lack of witnesses, drug and alcohol problems, and immigration issues. Experience is the key to helping injured fisherman with these problems obtain a reasonable and fair settlement of their claims.

High Pay for Hard Work

Working as a fisherman is the life career for many of Stacey & Jacobsen's clients. Despite lack of formal education and technical training, many fishermen are capable of earning high crew wages as a commercial fisherman. Many successful seamen may have immigrated from Poland, Mexico, Viet Nam, and other countries. Some may speak and read little English.

A fisherman's skill at finding fish, the ability to work long hours, physical strength, practical engineering skills, and abilities as deckhand or processor are the measure of success in the commercial fishing industry. If an injured seaman cannot return to work because of injuries, it is unlikely he or she will be able to match prior earnings as a fisherman working in a light or medium duty job.

Helping You Navigate Your Options After Injury

Working as a fisherman may be the best and highest paying employment the crewman can ever expect to find. Fishermen oftentimes have few transferable skills that can be converted into use at shoreside employment. An injured seaman left with physical work restrictions may not be able to successfully compete for other shoreside employment requiring more education and job experience.

If a seaman is injured through negligence of the employer or ship owner, he or she will be entitled to future lost wages if, as a result of injuries, he or she is no longer able to earn as much as prior to the injury. Depending upon the age of the fisherman at the time of injury, lost future wages can be awarded for the fisherman's full work life expectancy.

Working as fisherman requires physical strength and endurance. No one cares if you graduated from high school or where you went to college. The important qualification is if you can get the job done, and how fast you can do it. Aboard a fishing boat, the owner's profits may be given a higher priority than a seaman's safety. Unfortunately, when a crewman is injured onboard ship, most fishing boat owners and employers show little loyalty to their injured crewmen and deckhands.

The vessel owner's insurance companies attempt to pay as little possible in compensation for each claim, oftentimes improperly terminating wage loss, maintenance, and payment of medical bills prior to a seaman reaching medical stability. The vessel owner's insurance companies employ highly experienced lawyers to represent them. The insurance company's lawyer's job is not to see that the injured seaman receives fair compensation, but rather to save the insurance companies as much money as possible by paying as little as possible on Jones Act injury claims.

Get Your Own Medical Opinion

Frequently, insurance companies refer injured seaman to doctors who are known to give medical opinions favorably slanted towards the insurance companies, and stated in such a manner that will limit the injured seaman's right to further medical care and compensatory damages. The insurance adjuster who is handling the injured fisherman's claim is being paid by the vessel owner's insurance company. The insurance adjuster's job is to save the insurance company money.

The insurance companies frequently refuse to authorize the treatment, tests, and surgeries recommended by the injured seaman's treating doctors. They typically suggest a second opinion by a doctor hired by the insurance company to question the treating doctor's advice to the patient. The doctors hired by the vessel owner's insurance company may rush a seaman back to work who is not ready, or to a fishing job at which he will not be able to continue.

At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, our maritime law attorneys help fishermen get the medical treatment they deserve and need to fully recover from their injuries.

Fair and unbiased medical assessment of an injured seaman's injuries and future work restrictions is important to obtaining fair compensation for an injured crewman. Despite their injuries, most of our clients want to return to work as commercial fishermen. Working as a fisherman is a job many of our clients love. They also know they will probably never be able to earn as much working shoreside as they have working in the past as a commercial fisherman.

Whether you can or cannot return to work as commercial fisherman will depend upon medical evidence about what your future physical restrictions are, and whether or not you can safely do the job without causing further injury to yourself or others. Of course, if you have physical restrictions placed upon you by your doctor following your injury, you will probably be entitled to far greater compensation for your fishing accident than if you have no such restrictions. This is why the fishing boat insurance companies oftentimes want you to be examined only by doctors they select.

We Have The Experience You Need

The attorneys of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC have handled virtually all kinds of commercial fishing accidents, including the following fisheries:

  • Crab Boats
  • Factory Trawlers
  • Fish Processing vessels
  • Draggers
  • Mid-water and bottom trawlers
  • Long Liners
  • Salmon Trollers
  • Salmon Seiners
  • Tuna Boats
  • Oyster Dredges
  • Scallop Boats
  • Clam Boats
  • Halibut Boats
  • Gill Netters
  • Cod Boats
  • Commercial Marlin Boats
  • Fish Tenders
  • Urchin Boats
  • Shrimp Boats
  • Squid Boats

The maritime injury lawyers at Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC concentrate on representing injured seamen. It is what we do. It is all we do. We haven't handled a few maritime injury cases. We have handled thousands of maritime injury claims, big and small. At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, we have the reputation, resources, and experience necessary to litigate against the big fishing companies and their insurance companies, like Lloyds of London.

Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC represents fishermen from nearly all 50 States, although most of our maritime injury cases occur in the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. We have also handled major injury and death claims in New York, New Orleans, California, Samoa, Gulf of Mexico, and the South Pacific.

Start Working With Us Today

If you are an injured fisherman, you should look for the best law firm in the country to represent you. Jones Act negligence claims for injured seamen are governed by federal maritime law. This means the law governing a case in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon is the very same, or similar to, the laws governing Jones Act negligence claims in other states. By hiring Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC to handle your fishing accident case, you will be getting experience learned through representing thousands of injured fishermen in the Bering Sea.

Our reputation as maritime injury lawyers is creating demand for our services on a national basis. Our attorneys are frequently associated by other lawyers because of our experience and knowledge about fishing accident cases. If you have been seriously injured in another state, the lawyers of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC can handle your case in association with local legal counsel. Our attorney fees will not be any more expensive than less experienced or non-maritime lawyers who are located where you may live or where your accident occurred.

If you have been injured aboard a fishing vessel, contact us for a free consultation about what rights you have, and what compensation you may be entitled to receive. You should have a maritime lawyer on your side when you are making decisions that will impact the remainder of your life.