Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Depoe Bay
Depoe Bay is located on the central Oregon coast in Lincoln County. It is a small city with a population of less than 1,500. Throughout the city’s history, fishing has been an important part of the culture and economy. It is home to the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world, covering approximately six square miles. Because of its size, Depoe Bay Harbor has limited capabilities and hosts smaller vessels and regional scale fishing fleets.
Working on commercial fishing and shipping vessels is inherently dangerous. If you were injured while working on a commercial fishing or shipping vessel, it is essential that you reach out to an experienced maritime attorney. There are three separate claims that an injured seaman may potentially be entitled to under maritime law: 1) maintenance and cure, 2) the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and 3) the Jones Act.
Maintenance and cure benefits are available to any seaman injured while working in the service of a vessel. Maintenance is a seaman’s day-to-day living expenses, and cure is all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Seamen may also be entitled to unearned wages. Employers are obligated to pay maintenance and cure until no additional treatment will help them recover. This does not necessarily mean that the seaman has fully recovered from their injury. It does not matter whether or not the employer was at fault for the injury. If the employer intentionally and unreasonably refuses to pay maintenance and cure, the injured seaman may be entitled to punitive damages.
The doctrine of unseaworthiness requires ship owners to provide a vessel that is “seaworthy.” Seaworthy means that the ship, along with its equipment and crew, are reasonably fit for their intended use. A lack of proper equipment, poorly maintained equipment, insufficient crew, and lack of safety procedures are all examples of unseaworthy conditions. If a seaman’s injuries are caused directly by an unseaworthy condition, they are entitled to compensation under this doctrine. The duty to provide a seaworthy vessel is absolute, meaning that ship owners are liable whether or not they were at fault.
The Jones Act is a federal statute that entitles seamen to compensation if their employers were negligent in causing their injury. An employer is negligent if they fail to provide a reasonably safe workplace or use ordinary care to ensure the vessel is in a safe condition. Regardless of how small a role the employer’s negligence played, the seaman is entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. This is a lower standard as compared to most personal injury actions. In addition, the Jones Act provides its plaintiff with the right to a trial by jury.
Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal industry law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing Portland seaman against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206-624-8844 or through this website.