Ferry accidents can have disastrous consequences, in no small part because these specialized vessels are often loaded with passengers. A ferry is, essentially, a seafaring shuttle, moving passengers (and their vehicles) back and forth over a body of water. Ferry routes are usually relatively short and repetitive, as the vessels traverse the same routes day-in and day-out.
Specially designed to transport large numbers of people and cargo over short distances, a ferry will usually not have any sleeping or dining accommodations, devoting that space instead to extra passenger capacity.
Because ferries themselves come in a variety of designs and operate on distinctly different routes, ferry accidents can occur for countless and unpredictable reasons. When injuries occur as a result of these accidents, the knowledgeable attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law can help you ensure your rights are protected.
Common Types of Ferry Accidents
Crews on ferries need to be prepared and trained for accidents both personal and catastrophic, particularly as human error can lead to accidents. Because of the sheer number of people that use ferries on a daily basis, safety protocols are usually quite comprehensive. However, accidents can and do happen. Some of the more common types of ferry accidents include:
- Collisions with port – Ferries are somewhat unique in that they regularly engage in docking maneuvers, usually multiple times a day. Ferry workers have to be especially aware and well-trained in order to avoid collisions with ports. Even still, accidents happen and serious injuries can result.
- Accidents with cargo – Most cargo on a ferry is going to come in the form of commercial trucks and personal vehicles. Many ferries are designed specifically to transport those vehicles from road to road over water. Some ferries are even equipped to transport rail cars. These vehicles can occasionally cause accidents, either through inattentive driving or because they are improperly secured.
- Catastrophic accidents – There are several famous instances of ferries suffering from catastrophic ferry accidents. In these cases, loss of life is usually significant. The cause of these catastrophic accidents — in almost all cases of which, the ferry sinks — is varied and usually attributed to cascading failures in several key areas.
- Falls – Ferries operate in a wide variety of weather environments, so it’s not unusual for the deck to be slick with water. Even in dry conditions, slips and falls can happen, and on a ferry a fall can mean a man overboard. Any ferry accident involving a fall overboard is a serious matter, and can result in life-threatening injuries.
- Loading accidents – On a ferry, people and cargo come and go frequently. Sometimes, ferry accidents can occur during the loading or off-loading of cargo and passengers, when vehicles are driving onto or off of the ferry. Loading areas must be especially well ventilated, otherwise the build up of carbon monoxide exhaust from vehicles can become hazardous.
Types of Injuries That Result from Ferry Accidents
The injuries that can result from ferry accidents can range from inconvenient to life-threatening, and sometimes with lifelong consequences The maritime law attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law have seen many kinds of injuries suffered by ferry workers in all kinds of in hazardous conditions. Common injuries that might result from ferry accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury – A fall can result in a concussion, and concussions can keep you off the job for weeks or months. More severe traumatic brain injuries can be even more dire and require more significant medical intervention.
- Crushing Injuries – When cargo or vehicles move suddenly, workers can suddenly find themselves pinned, resulting in compression or crushing injuries. These injuries are very serious and need to be treated immediately.
- Toxicity Injuries – Crew members working in confined or poorly ventilated areas can encounter severe toxicity issues. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern on ferries that transport a significant number of motor vehicles.
Ferry workers must also contend with all of the hazards of sea travel, so injuries such as broken bones or severe lacerations can happen. If you’ve been injured, it’s important that you talk to a knowledgeable maritime attorney so you can get the legal guidance and understand your rights after ferry accidents.
Knowing Your Legal Rights After Ferry Accidents
If you have been injured in a ferry accident, your rights might seem unclear, especially if the ferry you work on doesn’t navigate in open seas or is operated by a state entity. However, nearly all ferry workers are covered under maritime law conventions, which means you’ll want to seek out an experienced and well-versed attorney who knows the Jones Act and general maritime law.
The attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law have a proven track record of successfully resolving maritime cases involving ferry accidents. We work hard and fight aggressively to protect the rights of all our clients because we know just how challenging a life on the water can be, and how your life can change after a serious ferry accident.
Talk to an Experienced Ferry Accident Attorney
Suffering an injury while at work can be a stressful, confusing, and traumatic experience for anyone. Your employer might not be making the effort you expect to ensure your well-being. Often times, employers and insurers use underhanded techniques to get ferry workers to settle their cases quickly. That’s why it’s important you speak to a knowledgeable ferry accident attorney who can advise you of your rights under maritime law.
If you’ve been injured on the East Coast, call the skilled attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law to talk about your case. Our attorneys offer a high level of personal attention to each and every client, combined with extensive experience in the litigation of general maritime law. As an injured ferry worker who depends on your physical ability for your livelihood, it’s critical that you get the maximum compensation and benefits you’re entitled to under maritime laws for you, your family, and your health.