Ferry workers are unique in that most persons working aboard ferry vessels are working for the State and are, therefore, unique in their ability to pursue claims following maritime injury. Claims may need to be pursued in full awareness of the benefits and limitations of being a State employee ferry worker.
There are also many small ferries, privately owned, providing ferry services to islands. We have had occasion to become involved in maritime injury cases involving privately-owned ferries. Private owners such as maintenance associations may not be fully aware of their obligations. The fact that the ferry is privately owned does not necessarily mean the injured worker is not entitled to the same benefits under Federal law as a fully-licensed or State-owned ferry.
Ferry workers will probably be entitled to the full protection of the Jones Act and general maritime law. This may mean the ferry worker, even on a privately-owned ferry, may be entitled to recover for lost earnings, including future lost earnings; pain and suffering; expense of retraining; full medical benefits; compensation for earnings due to the end of the worker's contract; a living expense during medical treatment.
Injured ferry workers may be presented with workers compensation forms to fill out, and be treated as workers compensation employees. Workers compensation provides fewer maritime injury benefits than available through the Jones Act and general maritime law. If so, it is often fairly simply to claim entitlements under Federal law as a Jones Act and general maritime law seaman. You need an attorney experienced in maritime injury on your side.
Consultation with competent legal counsel can often result in an injured worker learning of the true extent of the benefits to which they are entitled, and the process and procedures involved in obtaining maximum benefits.
What you don't know about how the law protects you in case of maritime injury can be expensive. You wouldn't sign on to a contract with an inexperienced skipper. You wouldn’t want to sign on with an inexperienced maritime injury attorney.