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Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States, but workers’ compensation benefits typically do not apply to commercial fishermen. When a commercial fisherman is injured on a vessel, he or she is usually entitled to compensation under maritime law (also called admiralty law) or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (more commonly known as the Jones Act).

While fishermen only need to prove that an employer’s negligence contributed to their injuries in Jones Act claims, employers will frequently attempt to limit the amount of benefits that will be paid to the injured worker. Unlike the civil immunity that workers’ compensation provides for employers, the Jones Act allows injured fishermen to sue employers for economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills as well as noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.

Lawyer for Commercial Fishing Injuries in Miami, FL

Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed while working as a commercial fisherman in South Florida? You will want to make sure that you contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible for help obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.

Evan A. Hoffman is a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Miami who represents clients in all kinds of industries in Hallandale Beach, Homestead, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Aventura, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and many surrounding areas of South Florida. You can have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (305) 940-2307 to schedule a free consultation.

Florida Commercial Fishing Workers’ Compensation Information Center

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Maintenance and Cure for Commercial Fishermen in Miami

Commercial fishermen who are injured while at sea or acting in the services of the ship are entitled to maintenance and cure from their employers. Maintenance refers to the fisherman’s day-to-day living expenses (such as food, shelter, and utilities), while cure covers the fisherman’s medical care and treatment.

Maintenance and cure is somewhat like workers’ compensation in the sense that it is paid to fishermen who were injured on the job, regardless of fault. Many employers will typically provide fishermen with very modest maintenance payments of only $20 to $50 a day—amounts that do not truly cover the fisherman’s actual cost of living.

Employer may also try to refer fishermen to company-selected doctors for medical treatment, but fishermen should understand that they are free to see the physicians of their own choosing. Employers may demand that fishermen undergo independent medical examinations (IMEs) in which company-selected doctors perform independent analyses of injuries, but IMEs are typically performed by physicians who will ultimately argue that fishermen’s injuries are not serious enough to prevent them from returning to work or the injuries were aggravations of pre-existing conditions.

Injured fishermen are entitled to continue receiving maintenance and cure until they reach a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), the state at which future treatment will result in no further improvement of a person’s condition. Employers will rush to declare that an injured fisherman has reached his or her point of MMI, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can fight to make sure that you receive the maximum maintenance and cure benefits for the full extent of your recovery.

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Types of Commercial Fishing Accidents in Florida

Accidents can occur on any kind of a commercial fishing vessel, whether it is a troller or trawler, a clam boat, crab boat, or shrimp boat. The Hoffman Firm represents commercial fishermen who were injured working on all types of vessels, including longliners, gillnetters, dredgers, and many others.

The extent and severity of a fisherman’s injuries depends on the types of the accident he or she was involved in. Some of the most common kinds of accidents on commercial fishing vessels include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken safety rails and guards
  • Crane failure
  • Crush injuries
  • Falls overboard
  • Falls through open hatches
  • Improperly trained crewmembers
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Limbs caught in machinery, rigging, or netting
  • Line handling injuries
  • Malfunctioning or defective equipment
  • Negligent crew supervision
  • Negligent piloting
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Vessel unseaworthiness
  • Winch failure

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Florida Resources for Commercial Fishing Injuries

Boating Accidents | Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) — The FWC protects and manages the state's fish and wildlife resources through rules and regulations it enacts. On this section of the FWC website, you can find boating accident statistics for every year going back to 2007. Injuries and fatalities are broken down by location of accidents, times of day, and primary causes of the accidents in addition to many other specific categories.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Commercial Fishing Safety — On this section of the CDC website, you can learn more about some of the dangers of commercial fishing. You can find information about such hazards as falls overboard, deck safety, and vessel disasters. The website also has information about fishing safety research projects, regional breakdowns, and links to various publications.

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The Hoffman Firm | Miami Commercial Fishing Injury Lawyer

If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed while working as a commercial fisherman in South Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm helps victims and families recover the compensation they need for past and future medical expenses and lost wages, in addition to other damages.

Miami workers’ compensation attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents clients all over Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County. Call (305) 940-2307 or complete an online contact form today to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.

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Free Consultation

All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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