All You Need to Know Before Filing Ferry Boat Accident Lawsuit in 2024

If you have been injured in a ferry accident, it is possible to file a ferry boat accident lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses.

When your time on the water does not go as planned and an accident has occurred, you may have many questions about who is liable for a ferry accident and how injury claims work. This guide will help you clear all your doubts about making a ferry boat accident claim.

Who regulates ferry services?

Ferry services are regulated by numerous federal and state laws. For instance, they may be subject to similar safety standards as other large commuter vehicles, such as large buses. Generally, injuries sustained in ferry boat accidents and the liability attached to them will be covered by the state personal injury laws. 

Ferries are boats or ships carrying passengers or vehicles across bodies of water on regular and repeated round trips. Although these vessels are convenient for commuters in certain cities, ferry boat accidents occur frequently. In the U.S., hundreds of persons are injured or killed in incidents linked with ferries every year. Although ferry worker injuries sometimes occur even with the best caution, many injuries and deaths happen due to the carelessness of other parties, including employers, operators, and ferry owners.

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Filing a ferry boat accident lawsuit after a ferry injury

People injured in a ferry accident could file a lawsuit against a ferry boat accident if such an accident was caused by another person or entity. A personal injury lawsuit aims to compensate the injured victim for losses caused by the incident. These include the medical bills and the related expenses, the lost income, and financial compensation for the pain and suffering you endured. If your injuries are more severe, you can seek compensation for the ongoing medical and rehabilitative treatment you may need as well as future lost income and compensation for the loss of quality of life.

A ferry boat accident lawsuit follows the same premise as any personal injury claim, which generally requires the injured victim or plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent in their action or lack thereof. Therefore, to prove their negligence, the plaintiff must show that the at-fault party was responsible for operating or keeping the boat safe and that their failure in that duty caused the injuries.

Types of ferry boat accidents

  • Collisions with fixed objects like a dock or a bridge.
  • Collisions with other recreational boats or watercraft.
  • Falls on the boat or overboard.
  • Fires.

Common causes of ferry accidents and injuries

  • Adverse weather conditions.
  • Improper maintenance.
  • Inexperienced operators.
  • Mechanical failure.
  • Operator falling asleep at the controls.
  • Operator driving the vessel at high speeds.
  • Overloaded vessels.
  • Operating a vessel under the influence.
  • Operating a vessel while intoxicated.  

Even when no catastrophes happen or no person gets injured on a ferry boat, crew members face hazards daily. Many ferries operate in communities where climate conditions are extreme. For instance, snow and ice can build up on decks and ladders, making them slippery and treacherous. Numerous seamen suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents that result under these conditions.

Other common hazards in ferries

Accidents on ferries may also be due to:

  • Abandon ship (lifeboat) drills.
  • Exposure to toxic materials.
  • Defective ladders.
  • Defects in non-skid surfaces.
  • Mooring lines.
  • Unsafe ramps.

Many of these defects are often avoidable. Unfortunately, the negligence and corner-cutting by masters and owners often create situations where ferries and their equipment become unseaworthy.

Common injuries caused by hazards aboard ferries

Hazards aboard ferries can cause a variety of minor to severe injuries. They can affect several body parts, such as legs, arms, back, hands, feet, shoulders, neck, and spine. Ferry accidents and injuries range in severity and type, depending on the nature of the incident. Along with minor cuts, bruises, and contusions, ferry crew members and longshore workers can file ferry boat accident Lawsuit claims for suffering:

Who is liable in a boat accident?

Like in a motor vehicle, the captains and other officers who navigate the boat have a responsibility to operate the vessel safely and responsibly. They are the ones who owe a “duty of care” to passengers. Operator inattention or inexperience, excessive speed, alcohol, and improper lookout are some of the primary reasons for ferry accidents where the ferry driver could be held at fault due to negligence.

It’s also possible that a defective ferry, equipment, or ferry part caused the ferry boat accident. Typically, this underlying cause is discovered during an investigation after the incident. Where ferry accidents are caused by defective ferries, engines, or ferry equipment, the injured victim can file a ferry boat accident lawsuit to hold the manufacturer liable for any damages.

If you were injured in an accident on a commercial vessel such as a party ferry, whale watching, or other situations where you paid a price of admission to board the ferry, you may also have grounds to file a lawsuit against the company that operates the vessel, the vessel owner and, potentially, the captain. A higher level of duty of care is required for commercial entities as maritime law may come into play. Therefore, it’s better to discuss your case with an experienced ferry boat accident lawyer to understand your case and plan your legal moves strategically.

Connect with Ethen Ostroff Law today

Whether on a pleasure boat or a commuter ferry boat, ferry accidents can happen at any time. If you have suffered lost wages, medical expenses, or other damages related to an accident aboard a ferry, you need to get expert legal advice on how to go about receiving compensation for your losses. The best way to find out about your options is to contact a skilled and experienced ferry boat accident attorney who specializes in ferry accident lawsuits.

Even if you believe you can go through insurance for compensation, receiving a settlement that fairly covers all your losses can be challenging. Fortunately, a trusted personal injury attorney would represent your best interests and will work to maximize the compensation you receive for your damages.

At Ethen Ostroff Law, we can help you get to the root cause of your injuries and help you determine who is liable for your pain and suffering. With our dedication in helping victims of boating accidents involving defective parts, reckless drivers, and personal injuries, we know how to work smarter and harder to turn your setback into a comeback. What are you waiting for? Contact Ethen Ostroff Law now at 610-510-8883 ( by calling this number, you consent to receive SMS updates from Ethen Ostroff Law) or Submit Form to get free consultation.

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