Nantucket woman sues Steamship Authority claiming injuries, loss of work due to a crash

A Nantucket woman is suing the Steamship Authority for about $323,000, claiming motor-vehicle negligence and personal injury as a result of a March 2019 collision that left her with multiple injuries.

Jessica Hicks, a jeweler and artist from Nantucket, was on the MV Eagle, a Steamship Authority-operated vessel that travels from Hyannis to Nantucket, on March 10, 2019, when the ship collided with a concrete barrier.

Suit seeks more than $250,000

Hicks claimed in the court filing that due to the collision, she fell and was “thrown down a vessel stairway to the lower deck below,” injuring her right thumb, which required surgery and necessitated wearing long-term splints and casts. She also needed physical therapy.

The Steamship Authority ferry, MV Eagle, passes Kalmus Beach in Hyannis and heads out to sea on its way to Nantucket on Feb. 20.
The Steamship Authority ferry, MV Eagle, passes Kalmus Beach in Hyannis and heads out to sea on its way to Nantucket on Feb. 20.

She said in the suit that because of the injury she has reduced function of her right hand and thumb, along with persisting back pain.

She also incurred more than $33,000 in medical bills due to the injury, according to the lawsuit.

The suit claims that because of the accident, Hicks was unable to work at her jewelry business for an extended period of time. This resulted in lost wages and earning capacity in the amount of $30,000.

Hicks is also suing for $250,000 in damages due to loss of function in her right hand, emotional distress and continuing pain.

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The Steamship Authority declined to comment; it is their policy not to discuss active lawsuits, Sean Driscoll, communications director and records access officer. said.

Hicks’ attorney, Gary Orlacchio at BostonLaw, also declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Settlement in another collision

In June, a lawsuit involving 15 claimants who were injured when Steamship Authority M/V Iyanough, on its way back to Hyannis from Nantucket, in June 2017 hit the 3,000-foot-long rock breakwater in Hyannisport with 48 passengers and nine crew members on board.

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All claims for injuries have been settled, and Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered the case dismissed May 3.

“We are gratified that the matter has come to a conclusion and that settlements have been reached for all involved parties,” the Steamship Authority's Driscoll said in a statement last summer.

The crash occurred on a rainy and windy night when ferry Capt. Karl Riddar and pilot Thomas Manley had trouble finding a navigational buoy, according to Coast Guard documents. Riddar mistook three plots on the radar for upcoming buoys, though they were actually a light at the end of the breakwater and two moored sailboats.

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The Coast Guard concluded that the loss of situational awareness by the bridge crew, Manley’s 10-month absence from serving on the ferry, Manley not knowing how to use the spotlight and the weather were among the factors that caused the crash.

The dollar amount of the settlements with the authority was not disclosed.

Contact Sarah Carlon at

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Nantucket woman sues Steamship Authority, for negligence due to crash