Ferry Accident Attorneys
Representing Injured Ferry Workers & Passengers Nationwide
Ferries are one of the most efficient methods of modern transportation, carrying passengers and vehicles short distances across narrow bodies of water. There are hundreds of public and private ferries in the U.S., transporting 113 million passengers and 32 million vehicles every year. In cities, ports, and waterways across the world, ferries are commonly used to transport passengers and cars quickly. Their relatively slow speeds and mundane trips make them seem infallibly safe, but several incidents have proven negligence can lead to fatal ferry disasters.
One of the worst ferry accidents in recent years occurred in South Korea in April 2014, when the MV Sewol capsized. The ferry, which was top-heavy as a result of extra berths added by its owner (and was carrying twice the legal cargo limit), capsized after it made a sharp turn while fighting strong currents. Even as the ferry capsized and sank—and the captain and many crew members abandoned ship—passengers were ordered to stay in their cabins.
304 of the 476 passengers and crew aboard the Sewol died. 250 were high school students.
At Arnold & Itkin, our team of trial lawyers has extensive experience with maritime injury cases. If you have been injured in a ferry accident, we know how to secure important evidence to build a compelling case on your behalf.
Contact us today to learn about your rights and options after a ferry accident.
Ferry Accidents in The U.S.
Tragic ferry accidents are not unheard of in America. Of the several fatal ferry accidents in the past few decades, one remains particularly memorable. On October 15, 2003, the Andrew J. Barberi was transporting approximately 1,500 passengers to Staten Island when it crashed at full speed into a concrete pier. The captain had lost consciousness after taking 2 medications that caused drowsiness, and the ensuing incident cost 11 people their lives and injured 165 more.
State regulations that required a second captain to be present during docking were neglected, contributing to the tragedy. This incident demonstrates that even the most seemingly routine maneuvers at sea can easily turn into fatal tragedies if due diligence is not observed. Taking operations for granted and ignoring safety procedures greatly increases the risk to both passengers and crew.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 132 million passengers were transported by ferry in 2019 through 760 active terminals. Private companies operate some boats, but state governments operate many. They can carry anywhere from dozens to thousands of passengers in a single trip, making them viable for crossing popular waterways, such as the Puget Sound, or out to islands near the coast.
With millions of passengers relying on ferries for safe transportation, ferry owners and operators must remain diligent to prevent tragedies. Steps such as training crew members on emergency procedures, providing adequate lifejackets and lifeboats, heeding weather warnings, and performing regular maintenance can help reduce the risk of traveling by ferry.
When ferry passengers are injured or lose their lives, Arnold & Itkin is prepared to stand and fight for what’s right. Our ferry accident attorneys can help with cases involving ferry capsizes or collisions, accidents on ferries, and incidents involving assault on a vessel.
Working on a ferry combines the demands of maritime labor with the unique challenges of transporting passengers and vehicles across bodies of water. It's a profession that demands vigilance and dedication, and it also comes with its fair share of dangers. The safety of ferry workers hinges on the commitment of ferry owners and operators to uphold stringent maintenance standards and ensure the vessels are seaworthy. Neglect in these areas not only endangers lives but also violates the trust placed in these entities by their employees and the public.
The risks faced by ferry workers are multifaceted. They stem from the complex nature of ferry operations, encompassing everything from navigating through treacherous waters to handling heavy cargo and managing crowds of passengers.
Our ferry accident lawyers help crew members in cases involving:
Coast Guard regulations require every ferry to be equipped with appropriate firefighting gear, life rafts, and slides to get crew and passengers off the boat quickly. The ferry must have the minimum number of seamen in designated ratings, certified under basic training regulations, and the crew must conduct regular abandon ship and firefighting drills. The ferry is also required to maintain standards that will assure its stability. Many ferry accidents occur due to crew negligence, unsafe docking procedures or the boat not being fully staffed.
A recent study showed, for example, that 43% of ferries use non-deck crew members during mooring operations—leading to devastating mooring accidents. Safety provisions for running mooring lines are frequently neglected. Other accidents occur because the boat is not kept in a seaworthy condition. Some circumstances include ice left on the deck, machinery for pumping out bilge water that is not properly maintained, decks that are not kept clear, or excessive noise. Numerous ferry crew members have also sustained illnesses and injuries from toxic paint.
When injured, ferry workers are not left to navigate these waters alone. They are protected by robust maritime laws, most notably the Jones Act. This pivotal legislation empowers ferry crew members, offering them a recourse to seek justice and compensation in the event of an injury. Under the Jones Act, injured ferry workers have the right to sue their employers for negligence and claim damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
This right to compensation under the Jones Act is a vital safeguard. It not only provides financial relief to injured workers but also serves as a deterrent, compelling ferry owners and operators to adhere to high standards of safety and vessel maintenance.
Proven Trial Attorneys for Ferry Accidents
Crew members who are injured while working on a ferry are protected by the Jones Act. Regardless of who is at fault, your employer will be required to pay maintenance and cure until you are fully recovered. An employer that has been negligent or failed to maintain a seaworthy vessel may be liable for additional compensation for damages that include lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
As leading maritime attorneys, we know the dangers that ferry workers face. You deserve a seaworthy vessel and a safe working environment, and employers who fail to provide that should be held responsible. We are committed to helping passengers and crew members seek answers and accountability after ferry accidents; we represent clients nationwide.
Contact a ferry accident attorney today to talk about your rights and options. Your consultation is completely free and confidential.