Since New York City is surrounded by water, many people use ferries on a regular basis. For instance, the Staten Island Ferry, NYC Ferry, and Liberty Landing Ferry provide transportation to commuters year-round. During the summer months, privately operated ferries are commonly used by those traveling for vacation, sightseeing, or day trips. While ferry rides are often relaxing and enjoyable, they can also be dangerous if a ferry operator fails to take the proper safety precautions or exercise due care. If you were injured in a ferry accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury action.
Common Types of Ferry Accidents
A ferry accident can occur in many ways, and they often happen when least expected. In many cases, ferry accidents are caused by the negligence or carelessness of the owner or operator. Whether the ferry was operated at an excessive speed, safety guidelines were not followed, or the equipment malfunctioned, the injuries sustained in connection with ferry accidents can be serious.
Ferry accidents can also arise due to the following:
- Operator negligence or recklessness
- Colliding with another vessel
- Mechanical failure
- Overloaded vessels
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
- Inexperienced operators
- Inadequate maintenance
- Colliding into a pier or other object
In addition, passengers may suffer injuries due to hazards at the ferry terminal or on the ferry if the premises are not maintained in a safe condition. For example, a ferry passenger may slip and fall on a spill that wasn’t mopped — or they may trip on a damaged step in a stairwell. Injuries can also arise as a result of broken handrails, defective flooring, and other dangerous conditions on the vessel or in ferry terminal waiting areas.
Liability for Ferry Accidents
Depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the ferry accident, a victim can suffer a broad scope of injuries ranging from broken bones, soft tissue injuries, lacerations, crush injuries, nerve damage, paralysis, and brain injuries. These types of injuries usually involve extensive medical treatment and may require a victim to take time from work as they recover. In severe cases, a ferry accident injury can be permanently debilitating or fatal.
To recover monetary compensation for a ferry accident injury, a victim must establish negligence. In other words, they must show that the ferry owner, operator, or another responsible party breached the duty of care owed to them, causing them to sustain an injury. Liability can also arise if the ferry owner or operator knew about a dangerous condition but failed to remedy it in a timely manner or issue a warning about it.
Whether the accident occurred on a public or private ferry will impact how the claim should proceed. For example, the Staten Island Ferry and Manhattan Ferry are both owned and operated by the City of New York — and it’s important to be aware that there are specific statutes of limitation and procedures in place to bring legal action against a City entity. In cases involving a city-owned ferry, a Notice of Claim must be served upon the applicable government entities within 90 days of the accident. A victim then only has one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit. When a private ferry operator should be held accountable, the victim has three years from the date of the accident to commence a personal injury action.
If the personal injury claim is successful, a ferry accident victim may be able to recover both their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages for ferry accident injuries can include unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the accident. Non-economic damages are meant to cover the physical pain and mental suffering a victim experiences due to their accident-related injuries.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered an injury in a ferry accident, pursuing compensation for your losses is critical. An experienced personal injury attorney can fight to recover your economic and non-economic damages and work to hold the negligent party accountable. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented victims of negligence for three decades and strives to obtain the best possible outcomes in each of their unique cases.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.