The Staten Island Ferry service just got its third state-of-the-art ferry with the launching of the Dorothy Day at the Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s Allenton facility in Panama City, Florida. As part of $300 million in investments for the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to bring larger and more advanced design ferries to Staten Island and lower Manhattan, the Dorothy Day is the third new boat added to the fleet since 2006.
With a capacity for 4,500 passengers and lauded as the cleanest and most efficient public transportation method available, the first ferry is projected to begin service in November of 2021. While the increased safety and advanced technologies of these new boats is commendable, it is important to keep in mind that ferry-related accidents, including the tragic Staten Island ferry crash of 2003 that killed 11 and injured 70, are too often caused by poor maintenance and human error.
Common causes of ferry boat accidents
Every year, over 100 million passengers are transported by ferry boat in the United States, and 45 million in New York State alone. In general, ferry boat passage is a dependable and reliable form of public transportation that is necessary to certain regions of the country where alternative passage is unavailable or restricted.
While New York City residents and guests rely on ferry systems as a way of life, accidents do happen. When people are injured in a ferry boat accident, it is important to differentiate between natural events such as storms, lightening or hurricanes, and human error. Some causes include:
- Operator negligence, carelessness or recklessness
- Inadequate safety measures, such as a shortage of life preservers
- Poor or improper maintenance record
- Inexperienced, fatigued or distracted operator
- Boating under the influence (BUI)
- Poor judgement of shifting weather conditions
- Mechanical failure
In order to pursue a liability claim if a passenger or crewmember was injured during operation of a ferry boat, the most important element that must be proved is that the plaintiff has standing. There must be evidence that the plaintiff suffered injury due to events or actions that took place on the ferry boat.
The elements of a negligence suit against a ship operator or owner are:
- Duty of care
- Breach of that duty
Because victims can experience aggressive pushbacks from insurance companies, boat operators and owners, it is essential to speak with an experienced maritime injury attorney who will fight for your rights and seek the best settlement for your situation.