North Carolina Ferry Accident Lawyers
Legal Help If You've Suffered Serious Injuries
If you lived in or around North Carolina in 2013, you undoubtedly remember the accident involving the Bald Head Island passenger ferry. The accident resulted in over a dozen passengers and some crew members becoming injured. Years later, it still has people questioning the possibility of the same thing happening to them. People also wonder what their rights would be in the event of such an accident.
Common Causes of Ferry Accidents
After months of deliberation and analyzing the 2013 Bald Head Island ferry accident, it was found that the captain was negligent during that fateful trip. He was known for having a history of not giving the Cape Fear River his full attention while operating the ferry and this was determined as the main cause of the accident.
While captain error and error on the part of other crew members could certainly be the cause of ferry accidents, there are more to consider.
Some of the most common are:
- Improper maintenance of the ferry
- Mechanical failure on the ferry
- Operators with little to no training
- Traveling at excessive speeds
- High winds or other bad weather conditions
- Vessels that are overloaded, either with people or cargo
In addition to ferry accidents that occur while the ferry is out on the waterway, accidents can also happen while the ferry is docked. Causes of these accidents include defective ladders, unsafe ramps, and defects in non-skid surfaces.
Most injuries that occur from ferry accidents are fairly minor. Ferries are very large vessels with several forms of protection in place. Because of this, those involved in a ferry accident will likely only suffer minor injuries and will not have the right to file a personal injury claim. But, because passengers and crew are often thrown upon impact during an accident, injuries can sometimes be much more serious.
Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are commonly seen after a passenger has been thrown around. This occurs when the ferry makes a forceful impact with another object and the passengers on board are thrown around on the deck or inside. If the head strikes another object, results can range from a minor concussion to a permanent disability.
Spinal injuries can also be seen after a ferry accident. This is, again, the result of people being thrown around and possibly onto or under other objects on board. This can lead to the back and nerves being pinched or damaged. Spinal injuries can be very serious, resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia.
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Many people don’t know what their rights are after a ferry accident because it involves admiralty or maritime law. While this law does have certain stipulations for crew members, it does not specifically refer to passengers onboard who have also been hurt.
Same as a land accident, anyone injured in a ferry accident has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she was injured. These cases can be much more complicated than other personal injury claims so it’s best to seek the help of someone experienced.
While the Bald Head Island ferry does not allow cars (motorized vehicles are not permitted on the island), bikes and other personal possessions are allowed. If these are damaged during the accident, passengers also have the right to file a claim to get the money that will be needed to repair those belongings.
The rights of crew members onboard vary slightly from those of passengers under maritime law. The Jones Act outlines that crew members who were injured during a ferry accident get medical treatment, medications, medical devices, and expenses related to the accident covered during the course of their treatment. While passengers have the right to file a personal injury claim to be reimbursed for expenses, crew members are given treatment and everything else they will need for free from the time treatment is begun.
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