Being a commercial fisherman can be a demanding, physical job. Fishermen face difficulties that people who work on the land might not even consider. Rough seas, heavy equipment and unpredictable fish can make the job a challenge. However, despite all the unique situations fishermen deal with on a daily basis, faulty equipment should never be one of them. When companies fail to maintain their boats and machinery, dangerous and even deadly commercial fishing accidents can result. In one recent case, a fisherman whose arm was amputated by poorly maintained equipment filed a maritime injury case against negligent fishing companies.
The case involved a fisherman from Little Compton who lost his arm to a winch that had not been kept in good working order. The winch was part of a hoisting crane, which is typically provided by commercial fishing docks to assist fishermen in moving their catch from their boats. While operating the crane, the fisherman’s right arm got caught in the winch and was amputated. Afterward, the fisherman and his wife sued the two commercial fishing companies that owned the fishing dock where the faulty winch was located. They argued that the rope on the winch was falling apart and should have been replaced long before.
Jury Awards Damages for Injury, Lost Wages and Pain and Suffering
Ultimately, the case could not be settled out of court and instead was placed before the Newport County Superior Court. After a trial that lasted two weeks, the jury awarded the Rhode Island fisherman a total of $2.6 million in damages. This includes over $554,000 in interest (since the injury occurred two years previously), as well as over $250,000 for the fisherman’s wife, for pain and suffering. Part of the reason for the large verdict was the fact that, without his right arm, the fisherman will no longer be able to work in the commercial fishing industry, which had been his career for 45 years.
Latti & Anderson LLP has helped amputation victims win millions of dollars in injury settlements nationwide.