Another Tragedy On A New York Commuter Ferry
Last Wednesday, January 9, 2013 was like a repeat nightmare for many New Jersey and New York commuters as the High Speed Commuter Ferry, the Seastreak Wall Street crashed into a pier near Wall Street. Initial reports from New York harbor indicate that 57 people were injured and one was injured critically. Human bodies laying in stretchers along the New York waterways was a sight that many New York metropolitan residents hoped they would not see again. Again the New York community has been dealt a major blow not by terrorism, but by ineptitude of the Ferry workforce. Our New York ferry accident attorneys have experience in handling all types of boat accidents and stand ready to assist any of the passengers involved in this tragedy.
Passengers and witness accounts suggest that the Seastreak Wall Street had a high speed forceful impact with the pier which suggests crew inattention and negligence. Although initial reports suggest that the crew was experiencing mechanical problems steering the vessel, the question remains that if that is the case, why didn’t the captain cut the engines, which would have at least lessened the impact. This crash resulted in a tragedy for several commuters who were on their way to work in Manhattan from New Jersey.
Unfortunately, this is not the first problem that New York’s Commuter Ferries or the Seastreak Wall Street has had. In both 2003 and 2010 major maritime fatalities occurred when a Staten Island Ferry crashed into a dock, which resulted in several fatalities and serious personal injuries. One of the crashes actually resulted in criminal prosecutions of a crew member who was incapacitated. Additionally the Seatreak Wall street has had prior docking incidents one of which was reportedly caused by a mechanical failure. The National Transportation Safety Board has revealed that they are now analyzing data from the data’s ferry recording system which is likely to yield insight into the causes of the accident including whether there was a mechanical cause of the crash, which is indicative of negligent vessel maintenance, inspection or repair. If the data excludes a mechanical cause of the crash it is likely that the cause of the failure was crew negligence and gross inattention to duty. The Coast Guard is also waiting for the results of mandatory post- accident drug tests to come back, which also may provide some insight into the cause of the accident. Our experienced New York boat accident attorneys have experience in getting to the bottom of the cause of vessel and maritime accidents, crashes, wrongful death and other maritime fatalities. Regardless of the cause of the accident, whether it be vessel maintenance issues or crew negligence the General Maritime Law provides a remedy for those who suffer personal injuries or wrongful death in accidents at sea. Our New York boat accident lawyers have extensive experience in litigating personal injury cases in the New York and New Jersey Federal Courts including Maritime and Admiralty matters.
As a New York Attorney who represents seaman who sustain personal injuries, in New York harbor, I am familiar with the doctrine of unseaworthiness. The general maritime law imposes a duty on shipowners to provide vessels, equipment and crew which are reasonably fit for their intended use. If the vessel, or its equipment or crew are not reasonably fit for their intended use, then the ship or that part of the ship or its equipment or crew, is unseaworthy. Shipowners are responsible to compensate professional mariners who sustain personal injuries because of dangerous conditions aboard a ship.
Unseaworthiness is a claim that the ship or its crew or equipment was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose. To establish an unseaworthiness claim, an injured maritime worker must establish that the ship or its equipment or crew, was unseaworthy; and that such unseaworthiness was a proximate cause of the sailor’s personal injury.
A vessel may be unseaworthy because of an inadequate or incompetent crew, including the presence of especially dangerous seamen on the crew; or an assignment of an insufficient number of men to a task; or the. failure to properly maintain equipment; or the failure of equipment under normal and proper use; or misuse of even non-defective, otherwise seaworthy gear; or ‘any other unsafe part of the vessel and appurtenances, or any defective gear used; or the lack of a safe means of boarding and departing the vessel.
The shipowner’s duty to provide a seaworthy ship is absolute, continuing and may not be delegated to a third party. This means the shipowner is responsible for the dangerous condition aboard a ship regardless of who created it. The shipowner’s lack of knowledge or lack of opportunity to correct such conditions, or the shipowner’s diligence are irrelevant. If the ship or its equipment or crew (or the relevant part) was unseaworthy and such unseaworthiness was a proximate cause of an injury to plaintiff, then the shipowner is liable to the plaintiff. It is the shipowner’s duty to provide a ship, equipment and crew which are reasonably fit for their intended purpose.
If a dangerous condition exists aboard a vessel, whether it was brought into existence by the ship’s crew, a third party, or even a fellow employee, the shipowner would still be liable.
In general, whoever caused the accident is responsible. If it was the employer or a co-employee who caused the accident, you are usually barred by workers compensation laws from suing them because you’re getting comp you can’t bring a lawsuit. However, if the employer did not have workers compensation, you can sue the employer directly and the owners personally for failing to securing payment of compensation. Additionally, who’s liable often depends on how the accident happened. In general, under the labor laws, the work site owner or the owner of the construction site and the general contractor are always liable… Read More
The biggest misconception is that people think that they only get comp. A lot of people don’t realize there are all these other remedies out there that can protect them and there are these other laws under which they can bring a lawsuit and get compensated for what they went through. Another misconception we see, particularly among the immigrant community and undocumented immigrants, is that they can’t sue because they arrived here illegally. We’ve handled a number of these cases successfully and the courts were pretty clear that the immigration status doesn’t matter because if you get hurt in the… Read More
Como un abogado de accidentes de coche en Nueva York, quetambién asiste en un gran número de accidentes de camiones comerciales, hemanejado numerosos casos de lesiones personales que impliquan a losautomovilistas de otro estado que causan accidentes de tráfico en Nueva York. Una de las primeras preguntas que todas las víctimas de lesiones personales en un accidente de coche le pide a su abogado de accidentede coche es donde puedo demandar. La respuesta es que la ley de Nueva York establece la jurisdicción sobre el demandado si el accidente se produjo en Nueva York. En general, el abogado tendrá que… Read More
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Our New York construction accident lawyers have extensive experience in representing construction workers who have sustained personal injuries in worksite accidents. One of the most frequent questions our construction accident attorneys hear is do I have a case. While most construction workers are familiar with New York’s Ladder or Scaffold Law, which is known as Labor Law 240. This law generally imposes liability for falls from unsafe scaffolds or ladders, but there are a number of situations in which a construction worker who is injured on the job can sue for damages. One of the most comprehensive New York Laws… Read More
Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous professions, and this week, thousands of New York City construction workers assembled to mourn the 30 wrongful deaths and fatilities of their fellow construction workers who died in construction accidents over the past two years. The construction worker are calling for new legislation to protect them and enforce job safety in an urgent call for action to help prevent future job-site fatalities. Our New York construction accident lawyers support new legislation and increased enforcement for job safety. Across New York City there have been vocal outcries and protests for greater work place… Read More
The first week of February has proven to be a deadly week, with a number of tragic car accidents in the Bronx. Our New York City wrongful death and car accident lawyers know all to well how dramatically a car accident can affect someone’s life. An off-duty New York City Police Officer suffered an unfortunate wrongful death in a car accident in the Bronx this week. The passenger in the vehicle,who was a housing officer, also suffered serious personal injuries. The officer’s car flipped over and then caught fire in a traffic circle in the Pelham Bay section of the… Read More
The federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining the Tappan Zee Constructors more than $12,000 for last July’s crane collapse. In particular OSHA found that the contractors failed to keep a safe work site, and exposed employees to the risk of injury caused by the falling crane. The incident occurred when a crane, which was driving piles for the new Tappan Zee Bridge’s Westchester-bound bridge collapsed across all lanes of the current bridge. While cranes collapses in Manhattan have become somewhat of an epidemic. there are only a few Westchester maritime construction accidents, who are familiar with the interplay of maritime law… Read More
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In a recent case, our White Plains Lawyer, Michael Joseph won a summary judgment motion for a client who backed out of a parking spot and was hit by another vehicle. Summary judgment is used to expedite a case when there is no dispute as to the important facts of the case. When there are no issues of fact, it can be determined which party is entitled to judgment without having to proceed to trial. Michael Joseph is considered to be one of the most experienced car accident lawyers in Westchester and has won numerous summary judgment decisions in favor… Read More