Winch Related Injuries

A trawl winch is one of the most vital, yet dangerous, pieces of complex equipment aboard any fishing vessel.

A winch’s primary function is to let out, change the position of, and reel in fishing nets and lines. When a Houston maritime employer is negligent in providing safe working conditions or other lapses in safety occur, injuries to hardworking maritime professionals can occur. A winch can weigh several tons, and when a fisherman’s clothing or equipment becomes entangled in a line, net, or winch drum, grave injuries and even death may result. When a tragic winch accident occurs, a Houston maritime accident lawyer at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can fight for maximum compensation for your case.

Fatal Injuries Resulting From Winch Accidents

Maritime accidents involving winches can often result in fatal injuries when seamen become entangled in machinery. These types of injuries commonly occur in the Gulf of Mexico. The already existing danger of winches on seagoing vessels is enhanced by the presence of bulky shipping containers, heavy equipment, drilling equipment, fishing nets, and other complex equipment nearby.

Injuries that involve the winch drum carry a higher risk for fatal outcomes compared with injuries involving the winch cathead. Fatal results are also more likely if a worker is alone on the fishing vessel and/or on deck. Proactive steps to prevent deck winch injuries might include:

  • Guarding of winch drums and catheads
  • Avoidance of working alone on deck
  • Not wearing baggy clothing that might catch
  • Improvements to cable winding guides

Training deckhands in first aid and emergency procedures might also allow for immediate treatment — and reduction of long-term consequences — when entanglements occur.

When a seaman is killed in a maritime winch accident, surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced Houston maritime accident lawyer, such as those at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., can explain your options for pursuing compensation if you’ve lost a loved one to an accident at sea.

Dangers of Working aboard Houston Commercial Fishing Vessels

Commercial fishing vessels are some of the world’s most dangerous workplaces. Many different types of winch equipment are used in this line of work, and they can present serious hazards to seamen. Most winch-related accidents occur when a fisherman becomes entangled in the winch or is struck by a winch cable. However, other entanglements can occur, such as:

  • In some cases, the trawl winch may be defective. If the winch equipment fails during operation, it can take a seaman by surprise and inflict major physical damage or knock a fisherman overboard.
  • The crew member may lack proper training in how to use the equipment and be injured, or even killed, while trying to use the winch.
  • Occasionally, crew members are negligent in performing their duties, which can lead to accidents and injuries.

A seaman who is injured in a winch accident may be entitled to past and future damages for:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish

In cases involving fishing vessels, a seaman may be entitled to maintenance and cure, meaning that all of an injured seaman’s reasonable medical expenses must be paid for by his employer and a living allowance must be paid until he has reached maximum medical improvement.

Federal and State Maritime Laws That May Affect You

To succeed in your lawsuit involving a winch-related injury, it is crucial to file your claim according to the right combination of maritime laws. This will require the help of a knowledgeable Texas maritime accident attorney who has a detailed knowledge of commercial operations along the Gulf Coast as well as a complex and comprehensive understanding of maritime laws and how they may apply to your case.

It may be possible for you to bring a claim under the Jones Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or other legal doctrines that apply to conditions like unseaworthiness or negligent maintenance. If you are a family member of a maritime worker who was killed as a result of their employment at sea, you may have a case under the Death on the High Seas Act or Texas wrongful death laws.

How Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers Can Help

Our highly skilled Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have decades of experience in successfully handling Texas maritime accident cases. We have recovered compensation for injured people in cases involving a broad range of maritime accidents, including equipment-related injuries, and our lead trial lawyer, Scott Krist, recently recovered one of the largest published maritime recoveries in Texas involving a single plaintiff.

When our dedicated maritime accident lawyers represent you, we will take the appropriate action to investigate whether your winch-related accident or Houston fishing vessel accident may have been caused by someone else’s negligence. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your accident that includes a medical assessment of your injuries, investigation of potential safety issues, and other evaluations to determine what may have caused your injuries.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has extensive experience with maritime accidents throughout Houston and the state of Texas. Contact us today at or by filling out the form below. We offer a free consultation and charge no fees unless you obtain compensation for your case.