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Ferry crash results in spinal cord injuries

As Many Connecticut residents are likely aware, a ferry crash in New York that occurred this past Wednesday, January 9, resulted in injury to many on board. The Seastreak Wall Ferry crashed into the New York Pier in lower Manhattan. The boat essentially hit the dock as it was attempted to park. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the incident. The name of the captain has not yet been released.

Connecticut residents may be interested to know that the incident sadly resulted in injury to many. Of the 326 passengers on board, approximately57 were harmed. Some experienced head injuries from falling down stairs at the time of the impact. Others were taken to the hospital and treated for spinal cord injuries. According to one source, about twenty patients experienced some form of a spine injury from the incident. Harm to the spinal cord can cause serious problems for the individual. A spinal cord issue can result in paralysis, permanent disability and the need for long-term medical care.

One more unfortunate twist is also involved in this sad incident - hospitals are already brimming at the edges with hurricane Sandy issues. According to one doctor, emergency rooms in some Manhattan hospitals are currently closed or under construction due to storm damage. Further, many Sandy victims continue to experience injury from the storm. This has reportedly increased patient volume in Manhattan hospitals by 100 patients per day. Thus, the hospitals are struggling to care for everyone harmed in these recent disasters.

As already mentioned the cause of the incident has not yet been discovered. If the captain is found to be at fault for the accident, injured parties may be entitled to recover monetary compensation for their injuries directly from the captain, or from the ferry company as well.

Under theories of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for their employee's negligent behavior if such employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time the negligent conduct occurred. Seeking compensation through the employer is often more effective for an injured party as well as the employer is more identifiable and often has the proper insurance to cover the compensation required.

Source: CBS New York, "Getting ferry passengers to hospitals is harder in post-Sandy New York," Jan. 9, 2013.

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