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Line Handling Injuries in Jones Act Cases

Handling lines on a commercial fishing or shipping vessel can lead to devasting injuries. A common cause of line handling injuries is parting mooring lines. When a line parts (snaps in half), it can hit a crew member with enough force to seriously injure or even kill the individual. The entire mooring deck should be considered a potential snap-back zone, and there should be visible signage warning the crew. There are various reasons why a line parts, including:

  • The rope is worn out or not maintained properly.
  • Faulty or damaged equipment puts stress on the line.
  • The lines are tied too tightly.
  • The lines are not the proper gauge or material for the size of the vessel.

Injuries can also occur if seamen lift lines that are too heavy or from an awkward angle. Some examples of line handling injuries that seamen sustain include:

  • Amputated or crushed limbs,
  • Broken bones,
  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Crush injuries,
  • Eye injuries,
  • Spinal code injuries,
  • Back and neck injuries, and
  • Muscle injuries.

Line handling injuries are often serious and can require lengthy recovery periods. Some workers may never again be able to work on a commercial or fishing vessel again. To keep their workers safe, vessel owners must have a strictly enforced safety culture, proper training, and warnings. Vessel owners must not prioritize productivity over profits.

If you were injured in a line handling accident, you might be entitled to significant damages under maritime law. It is critical to find an attorney specializing in maritime personal injury law because this area of the law is very complex. Do not get coerced into taking a quick settlement from your employer or insurance company.

There are several avenues of recovery for seamen who suffered a line handling injury. Under general maritime law, an employer must pay maintenance and cure benefits to seamen injured while working on a vessel. Maintenance covers daily living expenses, such as rent and food. Cure covers all reasonable and necessary medical costs. If the injury was caused by unseaworthiness, the seaman can pursue additional damages under the unseaworthiness doctrine. A vessel is unseaworthy if the ship, its equipment, or its appurtenances are not reasonably fit for their intended use.

In addition to general maritime law, seamen injured in line handling accidents may be able to file a claim under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a statutory remedy that allows seamen to sue their employers for negligence. Some examples of damages available under the Jones Act include lost past and future wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lost future earning capacity.

Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered line handling 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.