DECKHAND INJURED IN BAIT CHOPPING MACHINE – Bill Ogletree

JUNE 21, 2011 by Ogletree Abbott

Have you been the victim of a Jones Act accident? If so, you may not know or understand your rights. There are many maritime employees that are injured every year and that fail to exercise their legal rights. This is often due to aggressive tactics from the employer. Some employers will threaten, coerce or even dismiss their injured employees to avoid a Jones Act accident claim. It is important for all maritime workers to understand their legal rights. One of the most important rights you have is the right to your own legal representation. You are not bound to the use of your employer’s attorney. Retaining the services of your own Jones Act attorney is paramount to the success of your Jones Act claim.

A twenty-year old man was employed as a deckhand aboard a crabbing vessel. Being the “new kid on the block”, he was given the task of handling the bait. This task involved putting frozen bait into a bait-chopping machine, gathering the chopped bait and putting it into jars that would go into the crab pots. The chopping machine often became clogged with bait. To remove the clog, the young deckhand was taught to lift a flap, scoop out the bait that was in the way and continue working. The machine was not turned off and the worker was simply advised to keep his hands clear of the spinning blades. Needless to say, an accident occurred and the deckhand lost a thumb and part of his hand to the blades.

The worker did not have a full understanding of his legal rights. However, he knew enough to contact an experienced Jones Act law firm. The attorney assigned to his case wasted no time in filing a Jones Act accident claim. The employer tried to blame the young man for the accident. However, the worker’s attorney argued that the machine did not have a safe design and that the procedure for removing clogs was not safe. The case settled for just over $2 million.

The deckhand in this case was lucky. He had experienced Jones Act attorneys on his side. Without their help, he probably would not have been offered any type of settlement. If you, or someone you know, have been involved in a Jones Act accident, contact an attorney. You could be entitled to financial compensation.

 

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