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Over 80 injured in New York after commuter ferry strikes Manhattan pier

As a vessel approached Manhattan’s Pier 11, New York commuters got up from their seats and packed closer to the ferry exits. All of a sudden, the ferry that serves as popular commute for many New York and New Jersey residents crashed into a Lower Manhattan pier near Wall Street. The vessel was filled with 326 passengers and five crew members. Witnesses note that in the January 2013 crash, those aboard were propelled into the air, colliding with walls, seats and windows, causing substantial injuries.

Every day, the ferry provides service between Atlantic Highlands and Highlands in New Jersey to piers in Lower Manhattan. The impact created a large gash in the bow of the 130.6-feet-long ferry. Approximately 85 people were reportedly injured in the catastrophic boating accident.

Ironically, this is not the first time this vessel has been involved in a serious accident. Coast Guard records indicate that the same ferry slammed into a New Jersey dock in 2009, tearing a significant gash in the starboard bow of the vessel and, just one year later, a collided with a dock created a hole in the port side of the same boat.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board are in New York City investigating the incident. Investigations suggest that water and weather conditions were normal, ruling out environmental factors as the cause of the incident. Drug and alcohol tests were conducted on the captain and crew and, while the crew passed preliminary breath tests, there is no report on the results of the blood tests.

The vessel was last inspected in July 2012. The propulsion system on the ferry, built in 2002, was changed last year in response to the EPA/Clean Air Act. Investigators are currently examining the machinery; NTSB officials note that electronic equipment on the ferry may be able to help them determine factors such as the speed of the vessel at the time of impact.

A man who suffered back and neck injuries in the collision filed the first claim against the ferry company. However, due to an action filed by the ferry company, the victim’s suit (and future suits) could be heard by a maritime court rather than a civil court. If granted, this would limit damages to $7.6 million, the value of the vessel, or completely exonerate the company from liability in the accident.

Depending on the specific circumstances of a lawsuit, laws and recovery can vary. If you are injured in a serious accident, contact an experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer who can help you work through any jurisdictional or procedural issues associated with your case.