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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Queens Ferry Accident: Still No Cause Identified

Movement around a huge, congested city like New York relies on a smoothly running public transportation system. Buses, trains, taxis and ferries can carry many hundreds of thousands of people around every day. Unfortunately, not all public transportation is entirely safe. Accidents happen more often than moist people realize. When accidents happen on public transport, large numbers of passengers can get injured.

A case in point is the ferry crash in January when a Seastreak ferry that smashed into Manhattan Pier 11 on the way over from Queens. In that single accident alone, 85 people were injured. Fortunately only one person was seriously injured and the ferry itself was not severely damaged. However, the investigations into the cause of the crash are still continuing, with no real result at present. The recently released preliminary report by the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) was inconclusive.

Accidents do not happen without reason. There is always somebody at fault. It may be the driver of a bus, the master of a ferry or the people who should have maintained vital components of the vehicle. It could be poor road maintenance, design or construction, faulty spare parts, traffic lights not working or any one of a hundred other reasons why an accident can occur and cause significant injuries.

In the case of the ferry crash, the Seastreak ferry is a particularly fast vehicle, with few obstructions to slow it down as it speeds from one passenger pick up point to another. The ferry was doing 33 mph just before it slowed down at Pier 11. It was still doing 15 mph when it hit the pier. All the master knew was that none of the controls seemed to work at the vital time and the company claimed that there was insufficient time to warn the passengers of an impending crash. Some passengers commented afterwards that they had overheard crew saying that the ferry had been difficult to maneuver for some time.

When people are injured in an accident involving any sort of public transport, they have the legal right to claim compensation if it can be proved that somebody else was at fault. The key issue here is proving liability. When any public transport vehicle is involved in an accident, there will always be an official investigation. This is vital so that everybody is clear where they stand in respect to liability. The ferry company, in the case of the Seastreak crash, will be hoping to limit its liability as much as possible, whereas those who were injured, including the single crew member, will want to be able to claim full and fair compensation for their injuries. Injuries always cost money to the victims, even if they are minor.

If you have been injured in a public transport accident of any type, you should make sure you seek the help and advice of a competent personal injury attorney to help you work through the claims process. The claim must be presented as soon as possible after the accident. New York has a three year statute of limitations on accident claims, but any accidents involving government authorities might have much more limited time periods in which claims must be presented.

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