An interesting situation arises in maritime law when a commercial fisherman finishes the voyage, is paid and then injured when he returns to the boat to collect his belongings. The question often arises is whether the commercial fisherman is protected by the Jones Act and entitled to medical treatment under the ship owner’s maintenance and cure obligation. The answer is Yes!
Maritime law holds commercial fishermen still retain their “seaman status” for a reasonable period of time after their employment ends and even if they leave the vessel. For example, a court held a fisherman who completed the fishing trip but was injured when he return to the boat to collect his personal effects is still a seaman. As such, he was entitled to remedies under the Jones Act, doctrine of seaworthiness as well as payment medical expenses and a living stipend under the ship owner’s obligation to provide maintenance and cure.
If you are a commercial fisherman and were injured after the completion of the voyage, you may still be protected maritime law. If you have any questions about your rights, do not hesitate to contact a qualified maritime lawyer.