NEGLIGENCE LEADS TO $1.7 MILLION FOR INJURED WORKER
NOVEMBER 9, 2012
A forty-six years old man employed by an offshore drilling company as a Jones Act seaman, filed a maritime personal injury lawsuit after falling on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, injuring his wrist and knees.
At the time of his accident, our client was preparing a high pressure wellhead for installation on the ocean floor. While preparing the wellhead, the man and his fellow crewmen were running pipe through the top of the wellhead and required to perform their duties from the elevated work platform because the height of the wellhead, which was sitting in the rotary table, above the drill floor. However, the platform did not have a handrail, and the rig’s owner did not provide our client any fall protection.During the course of these activities, our client slipped and/or was knocked from the platform, landed on his hands and knees on the drill floor, and suffered disabling physical injuries to his right wrist and both knees.
The rig owner’s company doctor performed surgery on our client’s right wrist on the night of the accident, during which he set the fracture in our client’s wrist and applied an external fixator. The rig owner’s company doctor allowed our client to be transported back to the rig the next morning, less than twenty-four hours after undergoing surgery. The man remained on the rig for the remainder of his hitch.
Our client developed a severe infection in his right wrist shortly after returning home, and was readmitted to the hospital for a second surgery during which his cast and external fixator were removed. The man eventually transferred his care to a doctor near his home, and underwent two additional surgeries on his right wrist because of injuries to the nerves in his wrist and elbow, as well as the failure of the fracture to properly heal.
The man was also suffering from bilateral knee pain following the accident, and eventually underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees. As a result of the pain, suffering and disability caused by his physical injuries, our client became severely depressed and began treating with a psychiatrist following his accident. He was still treating with that psychiatrist as of the time of trial. As a result of his injuries, our client was unable to return to his previous form of employment, and was restricted to sedentary to light activities in the future.
The jury returned a verdict finding that the rig owner and well operator were negligent. Our client was awarded damages totaling $1,701,029.11, including general damages of $1,000,000, lost wages of $425,035, and future medical expenses of $250,000.