NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Our client, a production operator, suffered severe and disabling injuries when the helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed as the pilot attempted to land on an offshore oil production platform. The pilot was making his final approach for landing, when the helicopter began slowly turning to the right. The pilot failed to regain control of the helicopter and it began spinning faster to the right as it descended into the water. The helicopter subsequently crashed into the water at a high rate of descent while spinning rapidly.
Our client was temporarily trapped in the wreckage as the helicopter rolled over and began to sink, but was eventually able to release himself from the wreckage. The man was unable to swim to the nearby platform because he was experiencing extreme pain and was not able to move his legs. He was able to inflate his personal flotation device, but had to wait for someone to jump in the water from the platform and drag him back to the platform. The man was eventually transported to shore by another helicopter for medical treatment.
He suffered a burst fracture of vertebrae and damage to his spinal cord that resulted in partial paralysis of his lower extremities. Our client underwent an anterior fusion, involving removal of the crushed vertebrae, placement of a bone strut, and metal instrumentation to fuse his spine. Our client remained in the hospital for approximately a month following the accident, and subsequently underwent extensive physical and occupational therapy. At the time of the settlement, thankfully, the man had regained a significant amount of strength in his legs and was able to walk short distances with the help of a cane. Our client’s special damages, including future lost wages and medical expenses were approximately $3.0 to $3.3 million. Our client’s claims were settled for payment of $7 million in new money, plus satisfaction of a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act lien of $316,500.38.