Commercial Fishing and Shipping Injuries in Sand Point, Alaska
Sand Point, Alaska is located in the eastern portion of the Aleutian Chain on Popof Island. The city has a year-round population of approximately 900, and the population swells each summer as transient fishing and cannery workers flood the community. Sand Point is home to the largest fleet of commercial fishing vessels in the Aleutian region. The fishing vessels harvest a wide variety of groundfish and salmon species, including wild Alaska sockeye and pink salmon, Alaskan pollock, Pacific cod, halibut, and black cod.
Commercial fishing drives Sand Point’s economy, and several fish processing companies have plants in Sand Point. Trident Seafoods operates a year-round fish processing plant in Sand Point that can process 1.5 million pounds of pollock or 350,000 pounds of salmon per day. Additionally, Peter Pan Seafoods has a support facility located in Sand Point.
The law recognizes that commercial fishing is a dangerous industry with a high risk of injury. If you are a seaman and were injured, the law provides you protection under general maritime law and the Jones Act.
Under general maritime law, if you are a seaman and were injured while working, you may be entitled to maintenance and cure and unearned wages. Maintenance is a daily stipend to be paid while you are recovering from your injuries, and cure includes medical treatment for any injury sustained while working. Unearned wages include the amount of money that you would have earned through your contract or normal end of your pay period. It is vital that you reach out to an attorney to help you recover because compensation under general maritime law can help tide you over while you are unable to work.
In addition to maintenance and cure, you can file a claim under general maritime law if your injuries were caused by the unseaworthiness of the vessel. To be seaworthy means the vessel is reasonably fit for its intended purpose. Conditions that could cause a vessel to be deemed unseaworthy include improperly maintained equipment, inadequate training of the crew, and lack of safety gear and equipment, and violation of safety codes and regulations, among others. Under an unseaworthiness claim, the vessel owner does not need to be aware of the unsafe condition to be held liable.
Sometimes, unseaworthiness claims may also give rise to a claim for negligence under the Jones Act. To recover under the Jones Act, your employer’s negligence must have played a part, no matter how small, in your injury. You may be entitled to recover significant damages under the Jones Act, including lost past wages, lost future wages, past and future medical expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering, disability, loss of use of body parts, loss of enjoyment of life, lost future earning capacity, costs of re-educating or retraining, lost of fringe benefits, lost pension benefits, and lost vacation pay.
If you were injured in a commercial fishing accident, you should find an experienced maritime attorney who understands the complexities of the maritime laws. The attorneys at Kraft Davies have been successfully helping injured maritime workers in Sand Point, Alaska for many years. Contact us today at 206.624.8844 or through this website for a free consultation.