Workers in ports face daily hazards and possibly being injured or even killed in an accident. With a lot of traffic, sizeable 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, Port of New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers can guide you through the process of getting the money you deserve.
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.
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This extensive port area is run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is matched in the 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 New Jersey and New York. It contains multiple container terminals that handle over 300 million containers each year and 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, accidents occur more regularly when a port is as big, busy, and congested as the Port of New York and New Jersey.
A collision is one primary type of accident here, which can cause injuries, deaths, monetary damage, and environmental damage. The waterways leading into the terminals are crowded with ships, and accidents that involve vessels colliding with each other or with terminals happen often.
Also common are accidents on solid ground in the ports and on docks. The port is busy; trucks, tractors, and forklifts move cargo around, cranes lift cargo, and people operate all this equipment and proceed 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 more common accidents likely to occur in a busy port. In most cases, port accidents are preventable and caused by:
- Poor judgment
- Lack of training
- Poorly-maintained equipment
- Incorrect use of equipment
Injured or killed workers are the result of these careless mistakes and accidents.
Examples of Port of New York and New Jersey Accidents
Many accidents have occurred in the Port of New York and New Jersey over the years.
Some of the most tragic and newsworthy incidents in the area involve ferries. These boats carry hundreds of passengers. Any accident can harm or kill workers and the people they are ferrying.
In 2013, for example, the Staten Island ferry crashed into a dock, and 70 people suffered injuries. And, in one of New York’s most tragic accidents, 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 2014. A pilot boat collided with the side of a larger container ship. The cause was not determined.
The incident highlights how dangerous it can be to navigate the crowded waterways in 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 transporting a container.
A crane operator lifted the container but did not detach it from the vehicle. The crane lifted the entire vehicle into the air and then dropped it. 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. It is 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 on a ship in the area as a seaman, federal laws 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 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 are 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 get back to a usual way of life after an accident.