Fishing at sea can be a dangerous occupation and even though working conditions are known to be risky at times, your employer must try to protect you from injury as much as possible. If they don’t, and you’re injured as a result, you might be eligible to claim compensation. Our guide on fishing accident claims will look at the types of accidents fishermen and women could claim for. We’ll also look at the potential compensation amounts that could be awarded for various related injuries.
If you have any questions regarding your eligibility to make a claim, our team is ready to help. When you call, one of our advisors will consider the details of your fishing accident and provide advice on your options. If you decide to pursue a claim after your consultation, one of our personal injury solicitors may offer to represent you. If they do, you won’t be required to pay any legal fees upfront, as you’ll receive No Win No Fee legal representation
To find out more about fishing accident compensation claims, please read on. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 6524 881 to discuss your claim for free.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Fishing Accident Claim?
- Examples Of Fishing Accident Claims
- Common Injuries Associated With Commercial Fishing
- How Much Compensation For A Fishing Accident Claim?
- Evidence To Support Fishing Accident Claims
- Time Limits For Claiming Fishing Accident Compensation
- Starting The Fishing Accident Claims Process
To be eligible to claim compensation if you’ve been injured working on a commercial fishing boat, you’ll typically need to prove that:
- Your employer breached their duty of care through negligence; and
- A fishing accident occurred as a result; and
- Because of that accident, you sustained injuries.
Saying that you were injured because of your employer’s negligence and proving it are two different things. Therefore, we’ll explain the sorts of evidence that could improve your chances of making a successful fishing accident claim later on in this guide.
Just like any other workplace, fishing boats should be kept as safe as possible by employers. This means that they should:
- Conduct regular risk assessments and try to remove any hazards identified.
- Train all fisherpeople on how to work as safely as possible.
- Ensure there is a safe system of work in place and that it is enforced.
- Properly maintain the boat and all of its equipment and repair any faults as quickly as possible.
- Provide fishers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where the risk of injury cannot be prevented in other ways.
Employers have a duty of care to all staff on board the boat whether they are full-time employees or self-employed fishers. Failure to try and keep staff safe could be deemed negligent.
Some examples of scenarios that could result in fishing accident claims include:
- Slipping or tripping on a cluttered deck of a fishing trawler and injuring yourself.
- Falling overboard because of a missing safety rail.
- Being injured by a winch or other fishing equipment that was faulty or poorly maintained.
- Being made ill by poor hygiene practices when preparing fish for market.
- Where your fishing boat sank because it was in a poor state of repair.
This is just a sample of the types of fishing accidents our solicitors could help with. If we’ve not described your accident here, please let us know and we’ll provide free legal advice on your options.
Effectively, anything other than the most minor injuries could result in fishing accident claims. Some of the injuries commonly associated with commercial fishing include:
- Slips and falls. Fishing boats are of course commonly wet and slippery environments which can lead to slip and fall accidents at work.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. The physically demanding nature of commercial fishing, including heavy lifting, repetitive movements, and working in awkward positions, can contribute to back injuries at work, strains, sprains, and musculoskeletal disorders.
- Hand and finger injuries. Handling fishing nets, ropes, and other equipment can lead to cuts and lacerations, puncture wounds, and crush injuries to the hands and fingers.
- Head and brain injuries. Falls, being struck by objects, or incidents involving winches, cables, or heavy fishing equipment can result in head injuries, concussions, or more severe traumatic brain injuries such as diffuse axonal injury.
- Drowning and immersion injuries. Commercial fishing inevitably poses a risk of drowning, near-drowning, and hypothermia due to being immersed in cold water.
- Weather-related injuries. Exposure to cold weather conditions can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold weather-related injuries.
- Burn injuries. Fires, explosions, and electrical hazards on fishing trawlers can cause burns and thermal injuries, especially when working with fuel, engines, or electrical systems.
- Eye injuries. Fishermen and women may face various hazards to their eyes, such as flying debris, fishing hooks, or exposure to chemicals, which can result in eye injuries at work, fractured eye sockets or even loss of vision.
- Noise-induced hearing loss. Loud machinery, equipment, and engines on fishing vessels can contribute to long-term hearing damage and noise-induced hearing loss claims.
Remember, compensation for fishing-related injuries will only be paid if somebody else’s negligence caused your accident. If you believe that to be the case, please call us on 0800 6524 881 to discuss your claim today.
Unfortunately, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) reported 10 commercial fishermen died in 2021. We know that if you’ve lost a loved one in a fishing accident, claiming compensation won’t make your loss any easier.
However, we are here to help if you do decide to file a claim. As well as seeking justice for your loved one, you could claim for any financial problems linked to their death. For example, a solicitor could assist you with claiming back expenses including funeral costs. Also, if you were reliant on your loved one’s earnings, you could receive compensation to cover that loss.
We won’t pressure you into claiming with us but are more than happy to provide free advice on fatal accident claims so please feel free to call when you’re ready.
One of the most important tasks your solicitor will do is to work out how much compensation you could be due for your fishing accident. As each case is unique it’s not possible to provide estimates in this guide. However, our compensation calculator has details of the potential settlement amounts for several relevant injuries:
To try and ensure the right amount is claimed, your solicitor will book a medical assessment for you. This will usually happen locally. The meeting will be conducted by an independent specialist who’ll read your medical notes, ask you questions and examine your injuries. They’ll then provide details of your injuries in a report that will be filed with your solicitor and your employer.
After your physical injuries have been assessed, your solicitor will check whether you could also claim for:
- Psychological injuries (depression, anxiety, flashbacks etc).
- Lost income.
- Remedial medical treatment.
- Loss of enjoyment due to the fishing accident of any of your normal activities.
- Replacement costs for clothing or other personal items damaged in your accident.
- Care costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Future lost income (for longer-term fishing-related injuries).
- The cost of changing your home to help if you’ve suffered permanent disabilities.
Essentially, once your fishing accident claim is settled you can’t request more compensation at a later time so your solicitor will want to get a full understanding of any physical, financial or emotional suffering caused by your accident.
If your employer was to blame for your fishing-related injuries, you’ll need evidence to prove this. You’ll also need to prove how those injuries have affected you. Therefore, your personal injury solicitor will be aiming to put together a strong case and back it up with evidence such as:
- Accident investigation reports. If the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) investigated your fishing accident, your solicitor will obtain a copy of their report to get a better understanding of what went wrong.
- Medical records. To confirm the injuries sustained in your commercial fishing accident, your solicitor will ask for a copy of any hospital records, X-rays or test results.
- Witness statements. Colleagues may be contacted by your solicitor to provide a statement about what they saw before your accident happened.
- Photographic evidence. You could take photographs at the scene of the accident to try and capture its cause. Also, it’s a good idea to take regular pictures of your fishing-related injuries (if they are visible) throughout your recovery.
- CCTV footage. You are entitled to request a copy of any relevant video footage if your fishing accident was caught on camera. However, it’s worth noting that most companies delete data within a month so you should act quickly.
If you’ve collected any supporting evidence already, please do tell us when you contact us. If anything further is needed, your solicitor will try to secure it for you if your case is taken on.
For UK personal injury claims, you’ll have 3 years to begin your fishing accident claim. This will generally start on the date of the fishing accident but it could start later if your injuries were not immediately obvious, for example, if you’ve only just discovered you’re suffering from hearing loss, or a repetitive strain injury due to your job.
In most cases, it’s important to get started with a fishing accident claim as quickly as possible because starting a claim too late could mean you’ll be refused the opportunity to request the compensation you might be entitled to.
If your claim goes ahead, your solicitor will act quickly as possible to try and ensure you’re compensated without delay. Some straightforward claims can be resolved in around 6-months or so. If extra information is needed about the extent of your injuries, claims can take up to a year or longer in some cases.
If you’ve been injured in a fishing accident and would like to talk to us about your options, please call 0800 6524 881 today. An advisor will review your case with you and explain your legal rights on a no-obligation basis.
Following your call, if you decide it’s time to take action and one of our personal injury solicitors believes you have a reasonable chance of success, they’ll offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. That means that you won’t need to pay any money upfront before your solicitor gets to work on your case.
We’re happy to answer any further questions you might have on the fishing accident claims process if you call us or use our online chat service.