Associated With:
Super Lawyers
American Association for Justice
AV Preeminent
National lawyers
WSAJ Eagle 2023

Washington State Ferry Crews

Washington State Ferry

For decades, our maritime injury lawyers have proudly represented hundreds of hard-working employees of the Washington State ferries in Jones Act claims for injuries at work. The Washington State ferries are the largest ferry operator in the United States, with over 1800 employees, 22 ferries operating in Puget Sound, 26 million passengers annually, 20 ports of call, and an annual budget in excess of $330 million. Millions of people ride the ferries every year to cross Puget Sound or visit the San Juan Islands. In order to provide reliable and safe transportation for the public, the ferry system depends on the hard and skilled work of its knowledgeable deck crew and engineers. These dedicated workers operate in shifts five to seven days a week to provide efficient transportation to the public by navigating ferries, directing traffic, taking care of critical marine equipment, handling lines, interacting with passengers, and making certain that the vessels are clean and safe for the public.

The Jones Act and Doctrine of Unseaworthiness

Because these seamen are members of the crew of a vessel on navigable waters of the United States, they are not covered by any state workers' compensation laws and must seek recovery for injuries at work under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. §30104, or general maritime law. The Jones Act is a federal act that provides to seamen injured through negligence the same rights as railroad employees under the Federal Employees' Liability Act (45 U.S.C. §51, et. seq.); Evich v. Connelly, 759 F.2d 1432, 1433 (9th Cir. 1985).

Under the general maritime law, a ferry employee may also seek recovery for unseaworthiness where a piece of a vessel's equipment is not reasonably fit for its intended use. Mitchell v. Trawler Racer, Inc., 362 U.S. 539, 542, 80 S. Ct. 926, 4 L. Ed. 2d 941 (1960); Ribitzki v. Canmar Reading & Bates, Ltd. 111 F3d 658 (9th Cir. 1997); Lee v. Pacific Far East Line, Inc., 566 F2d 65 (9th Cir. 1977).

Our Experience Representing Washington State Ferry Employees

Over the years, we have successfully tried multiple cases in court where we have obtained significant verdicts for unsafe conditions on the ferries. These include a verdict in excess of $1.1 million for three workers who developed occupational asthma following exposure to chlorine gas, a $2,372,323 verdict for an oiler who developed fibromyalgia as a result of a fall on a ladder in the vessel's engine room, and a $781,990 verdict for an ordinary seaman who had injured her back operating a defective buffer in the vessel's cabin. Through years of experience, we have gained in-depth knowledge regarding how the ferry system and its claims department operate. By obtaining full and fair compensation for ferry employees for Jones Act injuries, we are proud to have helped provide critical support for ferry workers and their families after devastating injuries and promoted safer work practices on the ferries.

Free Case Evaluation

Contact us today for a free case evaluation from an experienced Washington State Ferry injury lawyer at 206.624.8844. We accept cases on contingent fee and don’t ask for you to pay any up-front costs. We offer free parking for clients at our Seattle office.