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Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island, Alaska is located in the Gulf of Alaska 250 air miles southwest of Anchorage. It is the second-largest island in the United States. Commercial fishing is the dominant industry in Kodiak Island, and it is among the top three highest-producing fishing ports in the United States. The island’s many deep, ice-free bays provide anchorage to Alaska’s most productive fleet, which has more than 650 boats. The fisheries off Kodiak Island include Pacific salmon, halibut, and crab.

Several seafood companies have processing plants that operate year-round in Kodiak Island. They handle deliveries from the Gulf of Alaska, Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and the Bering Sea/Aleutian region. Among the companies that have plants in Kodiak Island are International Seafoods of Alaska, Island Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Global Seafoods, Kodiak Fishmeal Company, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty, Trident Seafoods, Kodiak Island Wildsource.

Working as a crew member on a vessel in the commercial fishing or shipping industry in Kodiak Island puts you at a high risk of injury. Extreme weather conditions, icy waters, and a short season can lead to accidents and serious injuries. If you are a seaman who has been injured in Kodiak Island, the law provides three principal avenues of recovery: maintenance and cure, the unseaworthiness doctrine, and the Jones Act.

Maintenance and cure benefits under general maritime law have been recognized in the United States since at least 1823. Maintenance is a daily living stipend paid to injured seamen to cover room and board, and cure is compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. These benefits are available to seamen while they are recovering from injuries suffered during the scope and course of their employment. Seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits no matter who was at fault for the injury.

The doctrine of unseaworthiness states that vessel owners owe a duty to seamen to provide a vessel that is suitable for its intended use. This means that the vessel and anything that is used in connection with the vessel must be maintained in proper and working order. The vessel owner will be liable under the unseaworthiness doctrine if a seaman is injured because of an unseaworthy condition. Types of damages available include loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and compensation for disability, among others.

An injured seaman can pursue an action under the Jones Act if the employer’s negligence played a role in the injury, no matter how small. The Jones Act states that a vessel owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure that his employers are kept safe. An employer cannot put his desire to make a profit during the short fishing season over your safety. Damages available under the Jones Act include lost wages, medical costs, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others.

If you were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident in Kodiak Island, Alaska, you should find an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Kraft Davies have the expertise to obtain the best outcome for you. Contact us today at 206.624.8844 or through this website for a free consultation.