For those of us on the East Coast, traveling by ferry is an everyday occurrence, just like taking a bus, train or taxi. Unfortunately, what many of us may forget is that, while ferries feel safe, they can be just as dangerous as their cousin mass-transportation methods. A recent Brooklyn ferry accident highlights these dangers.
The ferry accident
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, on Saturday, June 5, 2021, the Coast Guard, New York City Police Department and New York City Fire Department responded to reports of a ferry running aground. The 150-foot Seastreak ferry, Commodore, reportedly ran aground after 4:00 p.m. in in Bushwick Inlet in Brooklyn, New York, and began taking on water. At the time, there were seven crew-members and 118 passengers onboard. It took three boat crews from the NYCFD and NYCPD to evacuate everyone onboard, along with Coast Guard ships.
Immediately, after saving everyone onboard the Commodore, the Coast Guard began its investigation. Their goal is to both understand why the grounding happened and to, hopefully, prevent future similar maritime accidents from occurring.
After ferry accidents
For those crew members onboard during ferry accidents, they are eligible to make Jones Act claims for all their medical costs and other losses. And, for the passengers, they could also claim compensation for their medical costs and other losses, but it would not be through the Jones Act. Instead, it would be through a traditional personal injury lawsuit (a, so called, standard tort law case). Though, these issues are complex, especially as they relate to causation, liability and calculations of damages. And, the options differ depending on whether the person injured is a passenger or maritime worker. This is why it is so important to get the services of a New York, New York, maritime lawyer.