Crab Pot Injuries on Alaskan Crab Boats
Working on an Alaskan crab boat is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Crew members face various hazards, including harsh weather conditions, icy waters, long working hours, dangerous equipment, and rough seas. Many of the injuries on Alaskan crab boats are related to handling the crab pots, which weigh between 600 and 800 pounds. Crew members can get hit with the pots or caught between the pot and launcher or deck.
Crab pot injuries are often severe and career-ending. Common crab pot injuries include:
- fractured bones,
- back and neck injuries,
- traumatic brain injuries,
- loss of sight or hearing, and
- hand and foot injuries.
If you have suffered a crab pot injury on an Alaskan crab boat, you should reach out to a qualified maritime attorney. It is critical to find an attorney with experience handling crab boat cases because the law surrounding these cases is unique and successful representation requires knowledge of the equipment specific to the crab fishing industry.
Seamen that have suffered a crab boat injury may be entitled to make a legal claim for maintenance and cure, unseaworthiness, or Jones Act negligence. Maintenance and cure benefits are available to almost all workers injured in crab pot accidents and includes compensation for medical expenses and daily living costs, like rent and food, during recovery.
Under the Jones Act, a crew member can recover damages if their injury was caused in any part by their employer’s negligence. An employer is negligent if they fail to provide their seamen with a reasonably safe workplace. A Jones Act employer is also liable for the negligent acts or omissions of its employees and any dangerous or unsafe manner of work. Most crab pot injuries could have been prevented if employers had used proper care for safety.
For example, an employer would be liable under the Jones Act if a crew member was injured because the dogs that secure the crab pots to the launcher were not engaged in violation of industry and vessel policy. If the pots are not adequately secured, the moving platform at sea makes it likely that the 700lb pot will fall off the launcher and cause severe injuries.
The damages available to seamen under the Jones Act are much more extensive than typical workers’ compensation. Possible damages that you may be entitled to include compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, lost earning capacity, cost of retraining, and loss of enjoyment of life. Every claim is unique, and only an experienced maritime attorney will be able to determine the value of your claim.
Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered crab pot injuries against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206.624.8844 or through this website.