Ferries are an economical and effective mode of transportation for a large number of people and industries, and yet those working onboard ferries are often put into dangerous situations just in the nature of their work. Loading people, cargo, and vehicles exposes maritime workers to a long list of possible accidents and injuries. Additionally, several industrial surveys revealed that workers are also at risk due to lapses in security protocols and procedures. (NAMSGlobal.org, 2009)
For example, during mooring operations onboard nearly 100 vessels, over forty percent were relying on non-deck crewmembers to assist in dangerous mooring operations. Mooring is the securing of a vessel to a dock, and it requires knowledge, skill, and the ability to run lines that are smooth and safely lashed. Obviously, someone who is not a deck hand would be unaware of all that is required to conduct mooring safely and effectively.
This is a clear violation of maritime protocols as those who are not trained to perform deck procedures must not be responsible for such tasks. This makes it easy to see how someone injured, disabled, or even killed while performing some sort of maritime work would be protected under maritime law.
Apart from mooring issues, there are many ways that ferry dock workers can be involved in accidents and be subsequently injured. In many instances, the injuries they sustain would not be their fault but due to some sort of negligence, and maritime law has a lot to say about such issues.
Just consider that there are federal and industry safety standards that must be met, and if they are not, and someone is injured or killed, it is the vessel owner or the employer with the largest share of the responsibility. The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act are laws in place to ensure that anyone injured (or their surviving dependents) is properly compensated when negligence led to the accident.
Whether someone is a crewmember on board a massive ferry or on a small water taxi, the laws offer the same protections. They allow the individual to file claims against the vessel owners, their employer, or other third parties who, through negligence, caused an accident and resulting injuries or losses. This tells us that it takes someone knowledgeable in maritime laws to understand if a case exists and how to proceed.
This is why anyone injured in a ferry worker accident must meet with a maritime lawyer as soon as possible. Working with this qualified professional will allow them to uncover who is truly accountable, and how to proceed.
Consider that workers may have been put to work without having adequate training or knowledge, which is a form of negligence on the employer’s part. The ferry may not have been seaworthy and its equipment failures led to an accident. This could put the employer or the vessel owner at fault. There are many issues that could have caused an accident, and the laws always provide a maritime worker with maintenance and cure, but they are often entitled to far more.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a ferry worker accident, don’t just assume that this risk was part of their job. The employer, owner, or crewmembers may have been negligent, and this would mean that you are entitled – under the established laws – to be compensated. Meet with a maritime attorney and discuss your situation, if you are entitled to compensation, they can help you make your claim and win your case.