Washington State Ferry Workers
Crewmen working aboard Washington State ferries are protected by Federal maritime laws when they are injured at work. When a Washington State ferry worker is injured as a result of the negligence of his employer, the Jones Act, 46 USC 30104, allows him to bring an action for financial compensation. Under the Jones Act, ferry workers can claim damages for lost wages, lost wage earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical expenses and more.
Over 1000 crewmen work aboard ferries in the Washington State transportation system. The hard working men and women aboard these vessels are constantly exposed to potential injury. If proper equipment, training, and equipment are provided to crewmen, almost all injuries aboard Washington State ferries can be prevented. The safety of Washington State ferry workers is critically important to keep safe the public who use the ferry system.
Washington State ferry workers have the same basic rights to compensation under Federal maritime law that crewmen working aboard ships, tugs, and fishing boats have. Under the general maritime common law, Washington State ferry workers are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits when they are injured working at sea. When those injuries are caused by negligence or unseaworthiness, the crewman is entitled money damages that compensate him for his injuries and lost earnings, past and future. Under the Jones Act, preexisting injuries or medical conditions do not bar a claim for aggravation of the preexisting condition.
The Jones Act is a fault based system of compensation. You must prove negligence to recover damages under the Jones Act. However only minimal negligence is required to support a Jones Act claim and the negligence needs to contribute only slightly to the worker’s injury. Under the Jones Act, the State of Washington, like other employers, must provide their seamen with a safe place to work. A ferry worker must be properly trained and supervised, and he must be provided adequate and appropriate tools to do the assigned job. The Jones Act applies a comparative fault system of reduction of damages where both the employer and the seaman’s negligence contributes to causing an injury. However, a ferry worker should not be found comparatively at fault for following orders or working at the direction of his superiors aboard the vessel.
In addition to claims under the Jones Act, Washington State workers also have claims for damages caused by an unseaworthy vessel. The duty to provide a seaworthy vessel means that a vessel must be reasonably fit for its intended purpose and use. An improperly designed or maintained vessel may be an unseaworthy vessel. A vessel that is not properly manned, or failure to assign an adequate number of crew to safely do a task, creates andunseaworthy condition. Tools and equipment that fail under normal and expected use are presumed to be unseaworthy.
When a crewman is injured aboard a Washington State ferry, the State immediately begins an investigation to attempt to limit the compensation that may be paid the injured the crewman. Shouldn’t you have an experienced maritime injury lawyer working on your side?
Maritime injury lawyer James M. Beard has represented hundreds of injured maritime workers. Over his 30 year career, utilizing the Jones Act, Beard has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients located throughout the United States. Beard understands how injuries occur to crewmen working aboard ships, tugs, fishing vessels, and ferries. Let him put his years of maritime experience to work for you to obtain the compensation for your injuries you are entitled to under Federal law.
Beard represents injured crewmen on a contingency fee basis. You owe no fees unless there is a successful recovery in your case. Beard is always on the side of the injured maritime worker. Contact Beard to discuss your maritime injury case at 1-800-621-1091.