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Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Kenai, Alaska

Kenai, Alaska is located on the Kenai Peninsula where the Kenai River meets the Cook Inlet. The city is approximately 150 miles south of Anchorage and accessible by plane, automobile, and boat. Commercial fishing is the foundation of Kenai’s economy. Other major industries include oil and gas exploration, sport fishing, transportation, and commercial retail.

There are many seafood processing plants located in Kenai. These plants process salmon, herring, halibut, pacific and black cod, and razor clams. In 2009, Kenai was ranked in the top 50 U.S. ports for volume of seafood deliveries. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the 2019 sockeye salmon run for the Upper Cook Inlet is expected to be 6 million, and the 2019 sockeye salmon run for the Kenai River is estimated to be 3.4 million. The Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association was established to promote and protect the fishing industry and has more than 300 members.

Working as a commercial fisherman in Kenai is an incredibly dangerous job. Vessel disasters, falling overboard, and accidents onboard can all lead to serious injury. If you are a seaman who has been injured in a commercial fishing accident, you should immediately reach out to a maritime attorney. You could be entitled to damages and compensation under general maritime law and the Jones Act.

Under general maritime law, injured seamen are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits from their employer regardless of who or what caused their injury. Maintenance includes a daily living stipend, and cure provides compensation for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Injured seamen are entitled to receive these benefits until no further treatment will help them to recover. An injured seaman may also be entitled to receive unearned wages.

If the vessel was unseaworthy, an injured seaman might be entitled to additional damages under general maritime law. For a vessel to be deemed unseaworthy, it must be unfit for its intended use. In contrast to a Jones Act claim, an injured seaman does not need to prove that the employer was aware of or caused the unseaworthy condition. Types of damages available on an unseaworthiness claim include loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, compensation for disability, among other damages traditionally available under general maritime law.

If the employer’s negligence or the negligence of the crew played a role in the seaman’s injury, he will be entitled to recover under the Jones Act. Examples of negligence under the Jones Act include failure to train the crew, failure to provide proper tools and equipment, failure to properly maintain tools and equipment, failure to provide safe access to the vessel, violation of industry safety customs, unsafe storage of cargo, failure to make proper inspections, and requiring excessive overtime. You are entitled to demand a jury trial through the Jones Act.

If you were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident in Kenai, you should immediately find an experienced maritime attorney. The attorneys at Kraft Davies are qualified attorneys with the expertise to obtain the best outcome for you. Contact us today at 206.624.8844 or through this website for a free consultation.