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Published on May 27, 2015
Commercial fishermen are exposed to some of the greatest occupational hazards in the world. Experienced maritime attorney and former engine room officer Tim Akpinar talks about the legal rights of commercial fishermen under the Jones Act. If commercial fishermen sustain an injury or illness as a result of an accident or other condition, they are entitled to certain benefits under this federal maritime law.
Every fishery has an inherent element of risk, with some regions being worse than others. Regardless of whether commercial fishermen work in New England, the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf of Mexico, or Bering Sea, they all deal with significant workplace hazards. These include wet and slippery decks, swinging tackle, heavy and wet lines, exposed hydraulic machinery, long work days, and irregular watch schedules… whether facing a tropical sun or arctic winds.
Tim gives a brief primer on the Jones Act and the benefits it covers for commercial fishermen injured in the course of employment. This includes money damages for pain and suffering, as well as maintenance and cure, which are intended to cover living expenses and medical expenses while someone is disabled from their injuries or illness and is unable to work.
The Jones Act applies to vessel crew members and differs from the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which generally applies to shoreside workers who do not have a connection with a vessel in navigation.