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Ladder Injuries on Commercial Fishing and Shipping Vessels

Ladders account for many of the injuries that occur on commercial fishing and shipping vessels. If you are injured in a ladder accident, you have rights under maritime law and should contact an experienced attorney. Many times, ladder accidents are preventable. Three of the most common causes of ladder accidents on boats are listed below.

  1. Ladders that are not properly designed and maintained. Ladders on boats should be well-constructed with appropriate materials and free from defects. To prevent accidents, employers should regularly inspect and maintain ladders to ensure that they are in working order. Employers should keep ladders as clean and dry as possible to minimize slipping and falling.
  2. Ladders with treads that are too small or lack non-skid. It is critical that ladders have the proper non-skid treads because the risk of falling is particularly high on moving vessels with the possibility of rough waters and harsh weather conditions.
  3. Ladders that do not meet industry standards. Federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and industry organizations like the International Maritime Organization (IMO) oversee and enforce safety standards on commercial fishing and shipping vessels. For example, IMO states that permanent ladders must be inclined at angles less than 70 degrees, and ladder treads must have lateral support for feet.

Ladder accidents can result in wide-ranging injuries from mild to severe. Possible injuries in ladder accidents include brain injuries, bone fractures, head and neck injuries, shoulder injuries, and spinal cord injuries. If you were hurt in a ladder accident, you should seek proper medical attention. Under maritime law, you have the right to pick your medical professionals. You do not need to use doctors recommended by your employer or insurance company.

If you suffered a ladder injury on a commercial fishing or shipping vessel, you may be entitled to compensation under maritime law. Any seamen injured while working on a vessel is entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. This includes compensation for daily living expenses, like food and rent, and all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Your employer must pay maintenance and cure benefits, no matter who was at fault for the injury.

If your injury was caused in any part by your employer’s negligence, you may be entitled to additional damages under the Jones Act. The Jones act is a federal law that allows injured seamen to sue their employers for negligence. The damages available under the Jones Act are extensive and include compensation for lost earnings, lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and disfigurement, among others.

To learn more about your rights under maritime law, call an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered a ladder injury 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.