Gennusa, Piacun, & Ruli

Admiralty / Maritime Law

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Professional fishers face major risk off the coast of Louisiana

The United States has a seemingly bottomless appetite for fresh seafood and fish. Many people in Louisiana find that catering to that appetite is a great way to make a living by catching the fish that winds up on someone else's table. Professional fishing can more than cover the salary of the individuals working on a boat off the coast of Louisiana.

Unfortunately, those workers incur some serious risk every time they go out for a catch. Even in the best weather, the ocean is unpredictable and dangerous. Many people also wind up caught offshore when a storm brews up suddenly. It is important for those injured on the ocean to understand their rights as a worker.

All injured workers have legal protections

Anyone who works as an employee for a living in the United States has the right to compensation if they get hurt on the job. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, contractors and those who are self-employed may not qualify for workers' compensation.

It is also important to note that while workers' compensation programs do not limit applicants based on their immigration status, they do limit claims based on the location of the job site accident. Specifically, the injury has to take place in the United States. Obviously, that creates an unusual level of risk for anyone who works on the open ocean.

The ocean, after all, is not part of the United States past a certain point beyond the shore. Thankfully, even maritime workers such as professional fishers can receive compensation after a workplace injury. They simply have to follow different procedures than those who work on land.

The Jones Act protects maritime workers

There are countless ways in which a person who fishes for a living can wind up injured on the job. Equipment such as lines and nets can cause burns or cuts, while also posing a risk of someone getting tangled up and pulled overboard. Machinery can backfire, causing crushing injuries or electrocutions. It is also possible for people to be swept overboard and suffer exposure to the elements before getting saved.

Whatever the cause and nature of a maritime injury, a worker employed by a company in the United States has the right to seek compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act extends protections similar to workers' compensation to employees whose job takes them out onto the ocean. That protection is important, because an injury can create expenses and cut off the influx of income at the same time.

If you or someone you love works a dangerous job fishing for a living, it is important to understand the rights that maritime workers have if they get injured on the job.

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