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Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Ilwaco, Washington

Ilwaco, Washington is located on the southern edge of the Long Beach Peninsula on the north bank of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. The city is a part of Pacific County where commercial fishing is a significant part of the local economy. Annual landings exceed 21 million pounds of fish and shellfish with an ex-vessel value of nearly $15 million. Major fisheries include Dungeness crab, Pacific pink shrimp, and albacore tuna. Additionally, many fishermen who live in Ilwaco leave each fishing season to work on vessels in Alaska fisheries.

Working as a commercial fisherman in Ilwaco is a dangerous job, but your employer should not put your safety above their desire to make a few extra dollars. If you are injured, you should find a maritime attorney to help you understand your rights. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, there are different avenues of recovery under the law. The three major modes of recovery are maintenance and cure, the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and Jones Act negligence.

Maintenance and cure under general maritime law are available to seamen that are injured while they are in the service of the vessel. Maintenance is a daily living allowance to cover room and board. The amount of maintenance benefits vary and are usually paid by the employer every two weeks. Cure is compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Generally, the seaman’s healthcare providers will directly bill the employer. The employer is required to pay these benefits under almost all circumstances. It does not matter who or what caused the injury. Additionally, you may be entitled to unearned wages under general maritime law.

The unseaworthiness doctrine states that the vessel owner must provide its employees with a seaworthy vessel, which means that the vessel and its appurtenances are reasonably fit for their intended use. “Unseaworthy” has a broad meaning under the law. It basically means that the vessel, together with the equipment and crew, must be in proper and safe order. Specific examples include a rope left in a walkway, a padeye fixed in the middle of the walkway, the lack of a gangway, or working excess hours. The types of damages under the doctrine of unseaworthiness include loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and compensation for disability, among others.

The Jones Act provides an avenue of recovery for seamen whose injury was caused, at least in some part, by their employer’s negligence. An employer has a duty to provide seamen with a reasonably safe place to work. An employer is responsible for any known unsafe condition and any negligent act by its employees. Some examples of negligence include requiring excessive overtime, failure to correct safety hazards, insecure storage of cargo, and violation of industry safety customs.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, you should immediately reach out to an attorney. The attorneys at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law and has been successfully helping injured seamen of Ilwaco, Washington for many years. Contact us today at 206.624.8844 or through this website for a free consultation.