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What You Should Know About Ferry Accidents & Injuries


Posted in High Seas, High Risk: Offshore Injury on August 14, 2018


There are many forms of public transportation for people looking to save time, money, or who just want to avoid driving. While most people will think of buses, taxis, or even railway, for those of us living along the Gulf Coast or near large bodies of water, ferries are another option.

Ferries – whether used as a form of transportation to get around for errands or for work purposes – can be a great alternative to avoiding traffic. But as pleasant as these rides can be, your Gulf Coast maritime lawyers at Lapeze & Johns know just how quickly things can go wrong.

As maritime lawyers, we have seen countless cases all along the Gulf Coast of ferry ride accidents leading to serious injury or even death. It’s important to know the basics of ferry boat accidents if you regularly use a ferry as a means of transportation. It will better prepare you in case you are injured in one of these collisions and have to go through the claims process after.

What causes ferry boat accidents?

In some cases, the causes of an accident are something that goes beyond the operator’s ability to control. However, more often than not, an accident is caused by some form of human error.

Among the most common reasons for a ferry boat accident include:

  • Overcrowded conditions
  • Boating under the influence (BUI)
  • Poor maintenance
  • Negligence by operator
  • Operator falling asleep
  • Some form of mechanical system failure

This list is not exhaustive but there is a clear and general trend when it comes to these types of accidents. They feature an operator who fails to or is unable to perform their job adequately or a ship that is not maintained or run properly.

What are the most common types of accidents and injuries?

Accidents involving ferry boats are seldom of a high-speed nature, but that doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous. These types of boats typically carry plenty of cargo and people, making injury and damages costly.

Common accident scenarios are:

  • Ferry colliding with another boat
  • Ship fire
  • Ship capsizing

As most of us use cars as our primary means of transportation, it is a natural instinct to want to think of the two types of accidents as similar concerning the injuries we might sustain. However, there are a couple of key differences between the two vehicle types that impact passengers in accidents.

First, when riding a ferry you will typically not be secured by a seatbelt. Secondly, a ferry dwarfs the average car/truck/van, so any impact with other watercraft or physical structures sends the occupants airborne and usually into the surrounding water.

These collisions can cause the following types of injuries:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Burns
  • Drowning

These injuries are just the beginning of the physical troubles you may encounter after being in a ferry accident. They can require extensive treatment and in the worst cases, claim lives as well.

What to do after an accident?

The most important thing to do after an accident is to go to the doctor. Prioritize your health by seeking out the necessary treatment for your injuries and following through with any rest/recovery plans laid out by your doctors, whether that includes time off from work, physical therapy, or other recommendations.

If you make your health the most important thing after being injured, it will help you in two ways. One, it will speed up the time it takes to recover from being hurt. Two, it will improve the way your injury claims look to the insurance companies. The number one way insurance companies will try to deny your claim is by pointing out any instance where you failed to follow a doctor’s orders and citing it as the reason your recovery was slowed.

Experienced Houston maritime injury lawyers. We are here when you need us most.

We have over two decades of experience in litigating and trying maritime cases all around Texas and across the Gulf Coast. Maritime accidents require familiarity and experience in maritime law.

Contact us todayat 713-739-1010  for a free case review and learn how our years of knowledge and success in handling these cases can help get you the compensation you deserve.