If you work in the maritime industry in New York or New Jersey, you are part of an exciting, lucrative, but dangerous industry. From training accidents to cargo-moving accidents to ship collisions, there are many ways to get hurt on the job. Thankfully there are New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers in the area with the expertise to help you recover damages.
The Port of New York and New Jersey
Run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, this huge port complex is the busiest on the entire Atlantic coast of the U.S. and the third most active in the country.
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The port extends to about a 25-mile radius from the Statue of Liberty and includes the coast of New York and northeastern New Jersey, with a total of 650 miles of shoreline.
The Port doesn’t just have shipping terminals and docks; it also consists of the airports that make up the most crucial entry point for international flights in the country, express railways, several channels and other waterways, passenger and cargo ferries, lighthouses, and cruise terminals.
The cargo and container shipping industry here is vast, with over $200 billion worth of cargo coming and going each year. This includes more than three million containers and nearly 400,000 automobiles each year. The container terminals include the:
- Brooklyn Port Authority Marine Terminal
- Howland Hook Marine Terminal
- Port Newark-Elizabeth
- Port Jersey Marine Terminal
- Red Hook Marine Terminal
There are also two cruise terminals, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, and operations for several ferry lines.
New York and New Jersey Maritime Accidents
Maritime accidents happen in all port areas worldwide. With the largest and busiest ports, the accidents are more numerous and, too often, more tragic.
With all the ships coming in and out of the Port of New York and New Jersey and the busy activity within the port, it’s no wonder that examples of accidents are numerous.
Fishing Vessel Sinking
Commercial fishing is among the most dangerous maritime industries, and for the crew of a fishing vessel that sank in 2012, it was a lucky day to escape injury or death. On October 7th of that year, the Viking II set out as usual and sank approximately 75 nautical miles from the coast of New Jersey.
The cause of the sinking was flooding in the engine room, although the reason for the flooding could not be determined. Just three crew members were on board and were luckily rescued before they could be hurt or drowned.
Ship collisions represent another major hazard for New York and New Jersey maritime workers. In one incident in 2010, a passenger ferry collided with one of the terminals. The cause was a loss of propulsion control caused by a failed solenoid.
An alarm could have been installed but wasn’t; that would have alerted the crew to the failure and allowed them to act quickly. The collision resulted in severe injuries to three passengers and minor injuries to 47 other passengers and crew members.
Pilot Boat Collision
In another collision, a pilot vessel collided with a container ship in March 2014. Four workers on board the pilot boat were injured in the accident.
Why the pilot vessel smashed into the side of the much larger cargo ship is not known. The incident highlights just how dangerous the waterways around the port are. These crowded and busy waters are tough to navigate, even for highly-trained local pilots.
Accidents within the port are also more common than they should be and cause injuries and deaths to workers. In one tragic accident that should have been avoided, a 49-year-old longshore worker was killed when another struck her while driving a front loader through the port.
Her leg was severed in the accident, and she bled to death. The vehicle driver was found to have been drinking alcohol, which likely contributed to the fatal accident.
In another port incident, a worker was injured when her vehicle was lifted accidentally by a cargo crane and then dropped. The worker was driving a vehicle that moves containers around the port.
When the cargo crane operator lifted the container on her vehicle, it did not detach, and both the vehicle and container were lifted and then dropped. The fault was not determined, but something went wrong with how the container was attached to the vehicle, and it failed to detach when lifted.
Maritime Rights and Resources in New York and New Jersey
These examples of accidents are all too common in such busy ports and crowded waterways as those around the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
These accidents are often found to be due to negligence, with someone making a mistake that leads to accidents, injuries, and in the worst cases, fatalities. Negligence may result from improperly maintained equipment, a lack of safety gear or training, poor communication between workers, or poor decision-making.
If you have ever been caught in one of these accidents and injured, you have rights. Whether you work in the port as a longshoreman or as a seaman aboard a ship, there is a law or multiple laws that cover you and provide you with an outlet for recovering the money that will help you pay medical bills and cover your lost income.
In contrast, you can’t work or even have money to cover pain, suffering, and other expenses. If the worst happens and you die on the job, your dependent loved ones also have a right to get compensation.
Navigating the laws designed to provide maritime workers with post-accident compensation is not always easy. It can be tough to know what step to take next, especially if facing a battle from your employer’s insurer.
You can rely on the experience and professional knowledge of a New York and New Jersey maritime lawyer to help you through the process.
By working with a lawyer, you get the expertise you need to file claims, avoid deadlines and statutes of limitations, get a successful arbitration outcome, and even a successful trial outcome if your case goes that far. Trust a maritime lawyer to help guide you to get the most compensation you deserve.