Maritime Accidents

New York has a long history as a port. Although there may be fewer trans-Atlantic passenger ships and Navy vessels than in the past, many other types of shipping have returned to New York Harbor. The growing volume of commercial vessels can sometimes make the waters around New York seem very busy. It also makes them dangerous.

Although shipping has significant economic value to New Yorkers, it can also cause accidents and injuries. At the law firm of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques, P.C., our attorneys help clients who were injured on commercial vessels in the New York City area. We serve merchant seamen, fishermen, deckhands, processors, tugboat crews, mates, longshoremen and others who work in this very dangerous industry.

To learn more, please call us  at 212-227-6260 to learn how we can help you.

Maritime Workers Are Covered by Federal Law

There are three federal laws that protect maritime workers who have been injured while working in shipping and related industries. They are:

  • Jones Act: Individuals employed as seamen or crewmembers on commercial vessels in navigable waters are protected by the Jones Act. This federal law covers crewmembers on boats, barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, cruise ships, tour boats, ferries and tankers and provides benefits that cover past and future lost wages, medical bills and other costs associated with an injury at sea.
  • Death on the High Seas Act: This law allows spouses, children and other dependent family members to recover damages after a seaman is killed in international waters.
  • Longshore Harbor Worker Act: Shipyards and docks are dangerous places. While stevedores and dockworkers know this, employers and owners are also supposed to provide training and equipment to keep workers safe. When they do not and workers are injured or killed, they or their families may be able to seek compensation under the Longshore Harbor Worker Act from negligent employers.

Examples of Maritime Accidents

Some of the types of maritime accident cases we handle include:

  • Slip and falls: The decks of ships are slippery, but owners and operators of tankers, barges, and container ships must provide safety equipment to prevent slipping and tripping injuries on wet surfaces such as ladders, stairways, and decks.
  • Hands and arms caught in machinery: Examples include hands caught in augers, bait choppers and pulleys.
  • Line breaks and snaps: Mooring lines and other fastenings can break and cause serious injury to crewmembers in the area.
  • Crane accidents: Examples include cranes accidently dropping their loads, loads shifting, loads swinging unexpectedly, and crane arms detaching. If a crane collapses altogether, the operator will almost certainly be killed. When such incidents are the result of negligence, the injured and the survivors of those killed may have legal recourse.
  • Lifting injuries: Crewmembers who suffer injuries while lifting cargo or equipment are eligible to seek compensation.
  • Fires and explosions: A ship fire can be devastating. Laws require adequate fire-fighting equipment on board so that crewmembers can deal with fires quickly.
  • Going aground: Ship captains and pilots who miscalculate the depth of the water because of errors reading instruments or even the failure to follow proper procedure when entering a harbor leave themselves vulnerable to charges of negligence if the ship runs aground. In addition to causing significant property damage, running aground can cause a ship to capsize, causing injury and death.
  • Crashes between vessels or between a ship and a pier, a bridge or seawall: When large boats crash in the harbor, they may be moving at relatively slow speeds, but the sheer weight of a large ship makes any collision significant.
  • Fires and explosions: A ship fire can be devastating. Laws require adequate fire-fighting equipment on board so that crewmembers can deal with fires quickly.

Causes of Maritime Injuries and Fatalities

Accidents such as these can be the result of alcohol and drug use, poor training, reckless behavior, fatigue, failure to follow standard procedures and protocols, poor maintenance, bad design and many other types of negligence. Whatever the cause, it is important to consult a lawyer who understands the special laws related to accidents, injuries and fatalities that occur on and around ships and boats. This means that the lawyer should understand maritime laws such as the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

Contact Us

At Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques, P.C., our lawyers understand the special laws associated with maritime accidents. Call 212-227-6260 or contact us by e-mail to learn how we can help you after you were injured in a maritime accident.

Report Unsafe Conditions: If you see an unsafe condition in New York, take action to prevent an unnecessary accident. Call 311 or visit 311 Online.

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