Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Prince William Sound, Alaska
Prince William Sound is located on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula in the Gulf of Alaska. It has a total of 3,800 miles of coastline. The largest port in Prince William Sound is Valdez. Prince William Sound is also home to the Copper River, a glacial-fed river that produces king, sockeye, and coho salmon.
Commercial fishing is a significant part of Prince William Sound’s economy. In 1989, there was a massive oil spill that had a devasting effect on fishing in the region, but since that time the industry has bounced back. In 2018, the salmon catch in Prince William Sound was around 29 million. Both Peter Pan Seafoods and Trident Seafoods have processing plants in Prince Williams Sound.
Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. Because of the high risk of injury, the law provides unique protections to injured seamen. Typically, if you are injured while on the job, you would be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. However, if you are injured while working in the service of a vessel, there are three primary modes of recovery separate from workers’ compensation: maintenance and cure, the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and the Jones Act.
Maintenance and cure are benefits that are available to all seamen injured while working in the service of the vessel. The employer must provide these benefits without regard to who caused the injury. Maintenance is a daily living stipend, and cure is compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. There is no set amount for maintenance and cure benefits. An experienced attorney may be able to help you receive a higher amount than an employer initially offers. If your employer is refusing to pay maintenance and cure benefits, you should immediately reach out to a maritime attorney, because you may be entitled to punitive damages.
If an unseaworthy condition caused your injury, you can pursue a claim against the vessel owner under the unseaworthiness doctrine. To be seaworthy the vessel and anything used in connection with the vessel must be fit for their intended use. Examples of unseaworthy conditions include a slippery deck, defective gear, or an untrained crew. It does not matter if the vessel owner was aware of or caused the unseaworthy condition.
If your injury was in the course of your employment and was caused, in any part, by your employer, then you can pursue a claim under the Jones Act. An employer is also responsible for the actions of his crew. Negligence can take many different forms, including an unsafe workplace, unsafe or improper procedures or instructions, and unsafe or improper actions by coworkers.
If you were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident in Prince William Sound, you should find an experienced maritime attorney as quickly as possible. The attorneys at Kraft Davies are qualified attorneys with the expertise to get the best outcome for you. Contact us today at 206.624.8844 or through this website for a free consultation.