In the weeks following the tragic New York City ferry crash, survivors and their families have filed lawsuits against the ferry’s operator under maritime law. More than 70 people were injured in the accident, and several victims remain in intensive care. A new National Transportation Safety Board report details the shocking minutes leading up to the crash.
The plaintiffs include the family of a Wall Street broker who suffered serious injuries in the accident. The family sued the operator for $45 million in damages for his injuries. Other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of a victim who remains unconscious, a victim who suffered a spinal fracture and a victim who suffered a fractured skull. The ferry operator moved to limit its total liability under federal maritime law to $7.6 million, the estimated total value of the damaged vessel.
The Jones Act provides for specific rights to those who qualify for seaman status. However, the Jones Act is not the exclusive means of recovery for individuals who suffer an injury at sea. People like passengers on ferries and cruise ships, who do not qualify for seaman status under the Jones Act, must resort to general maritime law for relief. Although there is no statutory basis for general maritime law claims, many of these claims give vessel passengers the right to recover damages for their injuries under common law theories of liability.
Perhaps the most important claim under general maritime law is the wrongful death claim. If a person is tragically killed in an accident at sea, a wrongful death action permits his or her surviving family members to file a claim for wrongful death to recover compensation on his or her behalf. In a wrongful death lawsuit, families can recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium and the loss of familial income.
If you suffered an injury in a cruise ship or ferry accident, you should speak with an experienced maritime lawyer to learn about your legal rights. A maritime attorney can help you receive the just compensation you and your family deserve. For questions, contact Broussard, David & Moroux at 888-337-2323 (toll-free) or 337-233-2323 (local).