Offshore InjuryBlog

4 More El Faro Families Reach Settlement, Arnold & Itkin Pushes On

TOTE has reached settlements with four more families connected to the sunken cargo ship, El Faro.

Last October, 33 crew members were killed when the vessel sunk after losing propulsion in Hurricane Joaquin. During hearings it was discovered that the ship owners, TOTE, knew about the storm, the ship’s past engine problems, and had alternative routes that the cargo ship could have taken to avoid the hurricane’s dangerous waves and win. Sadly, they gave the captain no instruction to wait out the storm or head a different direction. Instead, they gave him the approval to continue on with the original route towards the Bahamas.

The U.S. Coast Guard drilled the company in 10 days of hearings, during which they sought to get to the bottom of the ship’s final voyage. While the families of four crew members had wrongful death lawsuits against TOTE, the company recently settled each lawsuit for $500,000 for pain and suffering, as well as a non-disclosed amount for economic losses.

So far, 14 families connected to the El Faro tragedy have settled with Sea Star Lines and TOTE Services.

“Since the loss of the El Faro, we have focused every effort on supporting the families of those on board," TOTE said.

Continuing the Fight for Justice for El Faro Victims

Arnold & Itkin takes a different stance. We believe TOTE is bullying families into quickly settling their cases to avoid paying the just amounts they owe to family members of these victims.

"It's sad to see TOTE use outdated maritime laws to push these families into settling for much less than what they deserve," attorney Jason Itkin was quoted saying by News4Jax.

If not for an antiquated maritime law dating back to 1851, Attorney Itkin believes that “TOTE would not have the power to put these grieving families in the difficult position of settling when they deserve so much more.”

Just shortly after the incident, TOTE requested that a federal judge limit its liability to a certain amount under this outdated law, something that many saw as insensitive and inconsiderate towards the families of the lost crew members.

Our offshore injury firm will continue to fight for the families we represent—not just to ensure that we recover maximum compensation on their behalves, but to send a message to TOTE and other shipping companies that they cannot treat people’s lives with such recklessness.

Read the full story on News4Jax here.

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