Ferries are used all over the United States to move large numbers of people and cars into and out of cities. The last thing on anyone’s mind when they board a ferry for the commute is that they could be in danger. Each year people are hurt in ferry accidents. Because of the size and design of ferries, a single accident can leave hundreds severely injured, or even dead. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a ferry accident, you may have a legal right to compensation.
Types and Causes of Ferry Accidents
Ferry boat accidents are rarely high speed accidents. But, because ferry boats are not very maneuverable and they are often heavily loaded, the accidents can still be serious.
Some types of ferry boat accidents include:
- Collision with another boat
- Collision with pier or seawall
- Slip and fall
Ferry boat accidents are most often caused by human error. Sometimes weather also plays a role, but even then it is up to the captain of a ferry boat not to take the boat out if the weather is too severe.
Some causes of ferry boat accidents include:
- Captain error
- Cargo not secure
- Faulty equipment
- Boat not properly maintained
Types of Injuries in Ferry Accidents
Ferry accidents are not like motor vehicle accidents. The passengers are not usually secured and the ferry is much larger than a typical motor vehicle, when a ferry rams into an obstacle or another boat passengers are often sent flying through the air and into the water.
Some examples of injuries from ferry accidents include:
- Fractured bones
- Traumatic head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Strains and sprains of muscles
- Torn or ripped ligaments and tendons
Whenever you have been hurt in a ferry accident, your number one job is to take care of your health. This includes seeking medical treatment and evaluation, taking time to recover as needed, following up with your doctor, and following your doctor’s instructions, including performing rehabilitation exercises and activities.
If you do all of these things you will recover faster. You will also bolster your injury claim. Often insurance companies look to try and blame injuries on the victims. They try and show that the victims would have recovered faster or with fewer complications if they had just followed the instructions from their doctors.
Ferry Accidents and Mass Torts
Most ferry boats are carrying dozens, or even hundreds, of passengers at a time. This means that many people have claims against the company operating the ferry boat. Situations like these are often called mass torts.
When many claims all arise out of the same incident, many times courts will setup special procedures for handling the cases to keep the courts from being overburdened and to provide consistency to all the different parties to the dispute.
The cases are not combined like in a class action, but a single pretrial judge may be assigned to make all the decisions in pretrial motions and discovery requests. This keeps the cases on track. But, it can also make it harder for cases with unique wrinkles. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help navigate all of the complexities of a mass tort case.
Ferries as Common Carriers
A ferry is usually a type of common carrier. That means that they transport people on a regular schedule for a fee. Common carriers have a special responsibility to make sure their passengers arrive safely.
In court before you can win a negligence case you need to show four things:
- The ferry owed you a duty
- That duty was breached
- You were injured as a result of the breach of duty
- You suffered damages
It is easier to show that the ferry owed you a duty if the ferry was a common carrier.
The Role of a Lawyer in Ferry Accident Claims
Personal injury lawyers understand the technical and practical aspects of bringing ferry boat accident injury claims. They know the best ways to investigate a case. They understand when an offer is reasonable and when an offer is ridiculous. Because personal injury lawyers do not get paid unless you do, they have an incentive to make sure you are getting all of the compensation you are legally entitled to.
It can be difficult to know where to begin once you’ve been in a ferry accident. You need to focus on getting healthy and not on trying to figure out how to get a claim filed. You may have bills piling up. We can help you find a qualified and skilled attorney to handle your ferry accident claim. The sooner you take action by contacting us the sooner we can connect you with the right lawyer for your case.