Both New York and New Jersey occupy important locations on the Atlantic coast and together control the busiest port on the East Coast and make up the third-busiest ports in the country. The Port of New York and New Jersey covers a huge area and sits next to one of the largest natural harbors, not just in the country, but in the world. With cargo, containers, cruise ships, railways, and airports, the port is a busy and industrious place.
If you work in the maritime industry in New York or New Jersey, you are a part of an exciting, lucrative, but dangerous industry. Whether your job is in the port or on a ship, there are numerous hazards to face every working day. 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 you need to help you recover damages. Under the law you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries, and a lawyer is the best person to help you do it.
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 third busiest in the whole country. The port extends to about a 25-mile radius from the Statue of Liberty and includes coast of both New York and northeastern New Jersey with a total of 650 miles of shoreline. The Port doesn’t just include shipping terminals and docks; it also includes the airports that make up most important 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 huge, 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, and Red Hook Marine Terminal. There are also two cruise terminals, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, as well as operations for several ferry lines.
New York and New Jersey Maritime Accidents
Maritime accidents happen in all port areas around the world, but 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. If you are ever caught in an accident like one of these, and injured, you have rights to compensation.
Commercial fishing is among the most dangerous of all 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. Just three crew members were on board and were luckily rescued before they could be hurt or drowned. The cause of the sinking was flooding in the engine room, although the reason for flooding could not be determined.
Collisions between ships represent another major hazard for New York and New Jersey maritime workers. In one incident, which occurred in 2010, a passenger ferry collided with one of the terminals. The cause was found to be loss of propulsion control caused by a failed solenoid. An alarm could have been installed, but wasn’t, that would have alerted crew to the failure and allowed them to act quickly. The collision resulted in serious injuries to three passengers and minor injuries to 47 other passengers and crew members.
In another collision, a pilot vessel collided with a container ship in March of 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 that 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 worker struck her while driving a front loader through the port. Her leg was severed in the accident and she bled to death. The driver of the vehicle was found to have been drinking alcohol, which likely contributed to the fatal accident.
In another port incident a worker was injured when the vehicle she was in 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. Fault was not determined, but something clearly went wrong with how the container was attached to the vehicle and that 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 a busy port and crowded waterways as those around the coasts of New York and New Jersey. These accidents are often found to be negligent, with someone making a mistake that leads to the accidents, injuries, and in the worst cases, fatalities. Negligence may take the form of improperly maintained equipment, a lack of safety gear or training, poor communication between workers, or just poor decision making.
If you have ever been caught in one of these accidents and injured as a result, 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 for medical bills, that will cover your lost income while you can’t work, and even money to cover pain and 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 system of laws that are 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 you are 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. To get the most compensation that you deserve and need, trust a maritime lawyer to help guide you.