The Port of New York and New Jersey is a huge complex with the maritime port that includes multiple shipping and cruise terminals, ferries and ferry terminals, but also high-speed railways and some of the busiest airports in the country and the world. The area that the port covers is enormous and spans the two states. In terms of shipping alone, this is the busiest port on the east coast and the third-busiest port in the country.
Working in the Port of New York and New Jersey can be exciting with so much going on, but it is also dangerous. For workers in the port and on the ships that come into the port, every day on the job presents hazards and the possibility of being injured, or even killed in an accident. With a lot of traffic, huge cargo-moving equipment, the nearby water, and other things going on, accidents are all too common. If you have been injured in the maritime industry maritime lawyers can help you figure out your next move and can guide you in the process of getting the money you need to get back on the job.
The Port of New York and New Jersey
Where the Hudson and East Rivers come together is one of the largest natural harbors in the world and the location of the Port of New York and New Jersey. This extensive port area is run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is matched in amount of cargo moved only by California’s Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Nearly 300,000 jobs are provided to the region through the port and it generates billions of dollars in tax revenue every year.
The port includes 650 miles of shoreline in both New Jersey and New York. It includes multiple container terminals that handle over 300 million containers each year as well as 400,000 automobiles. In addition to the container and cargo terminals the port includes cruise terminals, ferry terminals, lighthouses, express railways, and airports. The waterways of the port include the harbor as well as several channels.
Common Types of Port Accidents
Accidents in any port and surrounding waterways are all too common. However, when a port is as big, busy, and congested as the Port of New York and New Jersey, accidents occur with more regularity. One major type of accident here, which can cause injuries, deaths, monetary damage, and environmental damage, is a collision. The waterways leading into the terminals are crowded with ships and accidents that involve ships colliding with each other or with terminals happen often.
Also common are accidents that occur on solid ground in the ports and on docks. The port is busy and there are trucks, tractors, and forklifts moving cargo around, cranes lifting cargo, and people operating all this equipment and moving on foot. Workers are vulnerable to getting hit by moving vehicles, falling into the water, being struck by cargo, or being hit or crushed by cranes or cargo and containers lifted by cranes.
These are just a few of the more common types of accidents that are likely to occur in a busy port. In most cases these accidents are preventable and are caused by poor judgment, miscommunications, lack of training, or by poorly-maintained equipment or equipment that was not being used correctly. Injured or killed workers are the results of these careless mistakes and accidents.
Examples of Port of New York and New Jersey Accidents
Some of the more tragic and newsworthy incidents that have occurred in the Port of New York and New Jersey were ferry accidents. These boats carry hundreds of passengers and any accident can harm or kill both workers and the people they are ferrying. In 2013, for example the Staten Island ferry crashed into a dock and 70 people suffered injuries as a result. And, in one of the city of New York’s most tragic accidents ever, a fire on a steamboat in 1904 got out of control and killed over 1,000 people.
Another collision, which injured four crew members on a pilot boat, occurred in March of 2014. A pilot boat collided with the side of a larger container ship, although why this occurred was not determined. It does, however highlight just how dangerous it can be to navigate the crowded waterways leading into and out of this huge port. Even pilots who are highly skilled in navigating the local waters can make mistakes.
Accidents in the port itself are also all too common and often lead to injuries and deaths for workers. In one case a worker had been driving a vehicle that was transporting a container. A crane operator lifted the container, but it did not detach from the vehicle. The entire vehicle was lifted up into the air by the crane and then dropped. The driver was injured, but luckily not killed.
Another longshore worker in the port was not so lucky when a fellow worker hit her with a vehicle. The 49-year-old woman was killed after being struck by a front loader. The worker driving the front loader was later found to have been drinking, a tragic example of an accident and death that should have been avoided. The woman lost her leg and bled to death in the port.
Legal Resources for Injured Workers and Their Families
If you work in the Port of New York and New Jersey as a longshoreman, or if you work on a ship in the area as a seaman, you have federal laws that protect you if you are injured in an accident. These same laws protect your family members if you are killed on the job. For seamen, the Jones Act can provide a way to sue for compensation when negligence is involved and an employer refuses to pay. For longshoremen, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides for money regardless of negligence in the accident.
Both laws help injured workers or their families get money that can help cover medical bills and lost wages, punitive damages, compensation for pain and suffering, and funeral expenses. Navigating these laws, however, isn’t always easy. To help you when you in this situation, rely on Port of New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers, professionals trained in maritime law who can guide you and represent you as you seek the money you need to get better and to get back to a normal way of life after an accident.