Posted by : attorney stevelee

Gulf Coast Provides Wave Over Wave of Fishing Risks That You Can’t Afford

Fishing, including shrimping, employs many residents in Texas. While the earning potential of this job is good, the potential for serious injury or death is even greater.

A report done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in November 2010 examined the commercial fishing industry around the country, dividing the United States into four regions: East Coast, West Coast, Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico. The study aimed to pinpoint safety issues specific to each region, and the Gulf region proved to be uniquely dangerous.

Common Fishing Boat Dangers

As is the case throughout the commercial fishing industry, drowning is the number-one cause of fishing boat deaths. NIOSH has long been aware of the dangers associated with commercial fishing. For decades, it has studied one of the primary risks—drowning—and found that nearly 90% of on-the-job fatalities in the fishing industry have been tied to drowning after a fall overboard or a vessel disaster.

Other common scenarios that can lead to injury include:

  • Capsizing, sinking, and collisions. NIOSH noted that an industry-wide trend of fishermen opting out of wearing personal flotation devices on board around the country may contribute to the high fatality rate associated with falls overboard. Current regulations require boats to carry personal flotation devices for each person on board, but the rules make don’t require people to wear the devices. Consequently, when a boat becomes damaged in open water, ill-prepared crew members can easily get caught adrift in a sea of risk.
  • On-board injuries. The Gulf of Mexico led the way in fatalities caused by on-board injuries such as projectile concussions and equipment failure. In particular, entanglement in nets is a top hazard.
  • Slip and falls. Approximately half of all overboard accidents occur as a result of a slip and fall caused by dangerous deck debris and slippery conditions.

Each one of these accidents can result in serious injuries or even loss of life. The costs associated—both financially and emotionally—can be too great to measure and last for years.

Netting a Claim

Wondering if you can recover financial damages as a result of a fishing boat accident? Depending on the circumstances that lead to the injury, a captain’s negligence could warrant liability.

The laws regarding fishing boat accidents can be very complicated. This is because fishing boat injury cases can involve a unique mix of personal injury law, workers’ compensation, and maritime law. Not every attorney can navigate these tricky waters with expertise; it also takes experience.

Please call Attorney Steve Lee for more information on fishing boat accident liability and to learn more about your case options. Your legal rights can be used to earn money for your family…and the resources you need to do so are only a phone call away. Call now!

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