Admiralty Maritime:

Deckhands

Deckhands aboard tugboats, commercial fishing vessels and other ships have a high chance of becoming injured. They have to handle long hours, slippery decks, choppy seas and heavy equipment, all which pose a risk to deckhands. Fortunately, deckhands are protected by the Jones Act and are eligible for compensation if they are injured at work.

The majority of deckhand injury claims stem from employer, vessel owner or co-worker negligence, including:

  • Negligent crewmen
  • Inadequate training
  • Defective equipment
  • Working in dangerous weather

Deckhands who are injured at work are eligible for compensation according to the Jones Act and general maritime regulations. If they were hurt by employer negligence or unsafe working conditions, they can recover past and future lost wages as well as compensation for physical suffering. In addition, the employer must pay the injured deckhand maintenance and cure for medical expenses, regardless of fault.

Due to the physical nature of a deckhand’s job, some injuries may prevent them from ever returning to work aboard a tugboat, ship or crab fishing vessel. Unfortunately, there are no “easy” jobs for deckhands, as each task requires strenuous labor and quick responses. Injured deckhands should not be allowed back to work if they are not fully healed, as this can cause the injury to worsen or pose a safety risk to other maritime workers. Unfortunately, to limit the benefits you are given, some employers may force a deckhand to return to work before they are ready. Injured deckhands should seek a medical assessment before returning to work.

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