U.S. ferry systems are a critical component of the country’s transportation infrastructure. Passengers collectively take over 110 million ferry trips every year in this country alone. There are hundreds of ferry operators and thousands of maritime workers supporting ferry vessels. Almost half of all ferries carry vehicles in addition to passengers. That’s more than 25 million cars annually.
With all those vessels and all that traffic by foot and vehicle, it’s no wonder why safety should be the first priority aboard ferries. Unfortunately, ferry owners and operators can act without reasonable care and injure those aboard their vessels. Physical injuries suffered by ferry workers on the job can include:
Sprains and strains
Traumatic brain injuries
While transportation by ferry is generally safe, some ferry accidents are more common than others. Ferry worker injuries can arise from:
Hard landings at the dock or pier
Falling in stair wells
Overloaded or unstable vessels
Slippery substances on deck
Damaged or defective handrails
Cluttered aisles and passageways
Injured ferry workers are typically a federally protected class of employees under the Jones Act and maritime law (called a “Jones Act seaman”). If they are hurt on the job, ferry workers are likely entitled to maintenance and cure—regardless of the vessel owner or maritime employer’s fault in causing the injury. Maintenance and cure can help pay for medical expenses and overhead costs until the seaman gets better. If the vessel owner or maritime employer caused the ferry worker’s injury by failing to exercise reasonable care, the seaman may also have a cause of action for Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness. These fault-based remedies open different forms of damages to the injured ferry worker, like pain and suffering and lost future earnings.
Ferry worker injury claims are a complex area of the law. It is advisable to contact a seasoned maritime attorney as soon as possible after an injury on a ferry. You may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, and additional monetary compensation under the Jones Act and maritime law. While not every claim for maritime injury is compensable under the law, this injury has changed your life and you deserve justice. A maritime attorney can help you find your way.
Mariner Law, PLLC is proud to represent deckhands, masters, mates, engineers, stewards, and other mariners serving ferries in Washington, New York, Oregon, Alaska, and Connecticut. Maritime injury clients include those serving on foot ferries, car ferries, and high-speed catamarans on the many rivers, lakes, sounds, harbors, bays, and oceans in and around the United States.
If you or a loved one was injured or sadly killed in service of a ferry, Mariner Law, PLLC is here to help. There is no obligation to speak with a Jones Act lawyer from the firm and the initial consultation is free. Call (253) 600-2531 today.