Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Here in Alaska, many workers come from other states during fishing and crabbing seasons to earn as much money as they can. Several issues make the work high-risk for injuries, which, unfortunately, are sometimes fatal.
People that work on commercial fishing crews are used to being in small spaces with a lot of people. That does not necessarily mean they handle it well, however. Some of the injuries that sometimes occur on fishing boats are the result of co-workers getting into fights.
Additional issues that place lives at risk in the fishing industry
The seas bordering Alaska are frigid. If a worker falls overboard, which sometimes happens, he or she may suffer severe injuries or death if hypothermia sets in. The waters are often choppy, and enormous waves sometimes overtake a boat unexpectedly. These waves can sweep a person right off the deck. There are also often strong gusts of wind that place workers at risk for falling overboard. Besides, weather, commercial fishing equipment weighs up to 1,000 pounds or more, which can do a lot of damage if it falls on someone.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system after a fishing injury
If an Alaska worker suffers injury on the job, he or she may file a workers’ compensation claim to collect benefits. There are numerous reasons why an employer or insurance agency might seek to deny a claim. However, a worker whose claim is denied on the first go around should not lose hope; many claims are later approved on appeal. It is helpful to discuss a case with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before submitting a claim, or to seek support from such an attorney if a claim has been denied.