Professional fishermen work very exhausting and demanding jobs. They may have to report for work long before the sun rises and may work for much longer than the average person in a factory or retail environment. They are also at significantly elevated risk for injury and death on the job. Fishing vessels in the Gulf of Mexico averaged 8.6 annual worker fatalities between 2010 and 2019, and drowning was the top cause of death.
Fishermen on professional vessels can get tangled in nets, struck by moving equipment or swept overboard. If they do end up hurt on the job, they will face a somewhat complex process when seeking compensation.
Maritime injuries don’t qualify for workers’ compensation
While the fishing vessel that employs someone may dock at a Texas port and have employees who all live in Texas, the location of the work is still offshore and far from the jurisdiction of the Texas workers’ compensation program.
Fishermen and similar maritime workers who end up injured on the job have limited options for pursuing compensation. Workers and their surviving family members may be able to bring a claim under the Jones Act, which is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
Provided that the people affected can show that company rule-breaking or negligence contributed to the outcome, the business may be liable under the Jones Act for the losses suffered. People can recover lost wages and medical expenses, along with other verifiable economic consequences. Pursuing a maritime injury claim after a fishing vessel incident can help professional fisherman or their families defray the costs of a workplace injury.