Updated on: 3/21/2019
A crab fisherman who appeared on the popular TV show “Deadliest Catch” has filed a lawsuit against his former employers in King County Superior Court, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
The P.I. reports that David “Beaver” Zielinski was working as a deckhand for the Time Bandit, one of the ships featured on the reality TV show, in January 2013 when a mortar-style firework unsuspectingly exploded in his hand.
Zielinski’s lawsuit contends that the firework in question was a Time Bandit-brand device, and that the ship’s owners and captains – identified as Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand – commercially market the fireworks. Zielinski also contends that the show has featured exchanges of fireworks barrages with other ships and their crewmembers.
In the lawsuit, Zielinski claims that the firework exploded prematurely while in his hand and shattered several bones in his right hand and forearm. A clip of the episode featuring Zielinski’s injury can be seen below:
Boating Injuries Left Seaman Unable to Work
Zielinski’s attorney says that the crewman was acting under the direction of his employer when he attempted to launch the mortar-style firework into the air in celebration of a Seattle Seahawks football game on January 13, 2013. Zielinski was flown from the ship to a medical clinic in Alaska before eventually being airlifted to Seattle for surgery on his hand and arm.
The lawsuit claims that Zielinski has been unable to work since the incident and that he is suffering financially from the lost income. His attorney claims it was unreasonably dangerous for the owners and captains to bring large fireworks onto a boat for the untrained crew.
It is likely that Zielinski has grounds for a claim under the Jones Act, which sets special conditions for ship workers and crew members to recover damages if they were injured on the job due to the negligence of their employer.