Ferries are used for a variety of reasons. Some use the vessel to cross water where there is no bridge, to commute to work in coastal cities or for recreation and tourism purposes. Some coastal cities have seen a resurgence in ferry use. But with this increase has come the increase in ferry accidents.

Most ferries operating along the western coast are considered public vessels, so you will be tasked with suing the United States Government to compensate for your injuries. Doing so will not be easy and will require the help of a skilled maritime attorney.

Ferry Accident Maritime Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

The last thing you should worry about is a lawsuit. But the government should be held accountable for their negligence. BOATLAW, LLP has proven experience in maritime personal injury and they want to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. BOATLAW, LLP represents those in states along the West Coast including Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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Causes of Ferry Accidents

According to the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association, between 800 and 1,000 people die every year from a ferry accident. Although major ferry catastrophes rarely occur in the United States, travelers and workers could still be injured aboard the transportation vessel.

Many factors can contribute to a ferryboat accident, but most are due to another’s negligence. Listed below are some of the common causes of ferryboat accidents.

  • Overloaded vessel
  • Poor maintenance
  • Mechanical failures
  • Inattentive Capitan
  • Inadequate safety measures
  • Speeding
  • Operating under the influence

Even without a catastrophic accident, ferry passengers and workers face hazards every day aboard the vessel. Many ferryboats operate in areas where the climate can be extreme. In states such as Oregon, Washington and Alaska, ferries must operate in cold temperatures. Ice and snow can build up on ladder and decks, making them slippery.

Slippery conditions are another common, less catastrophic, cause for ferryboat accidents. Other common hazards aboard ferries include unsafe ramps, exposure to toxic chemicals, defective ladders and defective non-skid surfaces.

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Common Injuries from Ferry Accidents

Hazards aboard a ferry can cause a wide variety of injuries. The injuries vary based on the severity of the accident, but some of them include:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Strained muscles
  • Sprains
  • Amputations
  • Crush injuries
  • Death

Many of these injuries can cause lasting damage to passengers and crewmembers. In addition to this, you will have to miss work so you can receive treatment for your injuries. This can result in lost wages and leave you unable to pay for medical bills.

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What is the Public Vessels Act?

You have the right to seek compensation for injuries caused aboard a ferry under the Public Vessels Act (PVA). This act allows injured individuals to sue the United States Government for damages caused by a public U.S. vessel.

The requirements for a claim under the act are similar to other personal injury and wrongful death suit under general maritime law. The act is similar in that you will be required to prove the U.S Government’s negligence contributed to your injuries or the death of your loved one.  However, PVA differs from other maritime laws in a number of ways.

The statue of limitation under PVA is shorter than other maritime laws. All claims made under the Public Vessels Act must be filed within two years after the injury or death occurred. This is a year shorter than the three-year filing period under general maritime law and the Jones Act.

PVA has a limitation on claims filed by foreign nationals. Citizens of other countries are only able to file suit under the act if a U.S. citizen can file a claim for the same reason under the laws of the non-U.S. country. This is known as a reciprocity requirement.

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Additional Resources for Ferry Accidents

Suits Involving Public Vessels | U.S. Code – Visit the official website of Cornell Law School to read through the Public Vessels Act. You can find out if claims can be settled by arbitration, claims by foreign nationals and when a claim can be filed.

Ferry Operations in the United States – Visit the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to learn about ferryboats in the United States. You can find interesting statistics related to the number of ferryboats in each state, what the vessels transport and the average distance they travel. The BTS is a statistical agency within the Department of Transportation.

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Ferry Accident Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

Whether you were injured as a passenger or crewmember, BOATLAW, LLP is here to help. We will aggressively advocate on your to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Schedule a time to speak with us more about your case. Call 1-800-262-8529.

BOATLAW, LLP represent those injured in ferry accidents in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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