FALL FROM PERSONNEL BASKET; CLOSED HEAD INJURY WITH CEREBRAL CONCUSSION; COGNITIVE DEFICITS AND MIGRAINE HEADACHES; CERVICAL AND LUMBAR SPRAIN $900,000 SETTLEMENT
MAY 21, 2013
Our client, a twenty-seven year old telecommunications technician, suffered closed head, neck, and lower back injuries after falling from a personnel basket to the back deck of a crew boat while being transferred to an offshore oil production platform. The vessel shifted in the seas prior to the plaintiff being lifted from the back deck, and the webbing of the personnel basket collapsed on top of our client. The crane operator failed to reposition the boom of the crane or allow the vessel to stabilize prior to making the lift, and instead proceeded with the lift, which resulted in the basket being jerked violently and unexpectedly from the back deck of the vessel. As a result, our client lost his grip on the webbing of the basket and fell backwards onto the deck of the boat.
Our client landed on the back deck of the boat and his head struck the deck with a force sufficient to render him unconscious for a short period of time. Our client was treated in the Emergency Room on the day of the accident, but was released after the MRI showed no evidence of brain injury. Our client followed up with a neurologist with complaints of dizziness, migraine headaches, and memory loss, and was diagnosed as suffering from Post Concussive Syndrome. Our client also underwent a neuropsychological evaluation and was found to have cognitive deficits in a number of areas. As a result of the accident, our client suffered a closed head injury with cerebral concussion and permanent cognitive deficits that resulted in a decrease in his IQ and his overall level of cognitive functioning. Our client continued to suffer with the symptoms of Post Concussive Syndrome, including frequent migraine headaches, and had returned to work at a significant decrease in earnings approximately twenty months following the accident.
Our client filed suit against the operator of the vessel for failure to keep the vessel stable and in position prior to the lift, and against the owner of the platform, who employed the crane operator, asserting that the crane operator failed to operate the crane in a safe manner and did not use a cargo basket to transfer the equipment from the vessel to the platform. Our client also asserted that the personnel basket was defective because one of the bungee cords on the basket was discovered to be broken following his accident. Defendants alleged that our client’s accident occurred because of his failure to properly hold onto the personnel basket. Defendants also alleged that our client and his co-worker had overloaded the basket with their personal gear and equipment. During the pendency of the claim, plaintiff received full benefits pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”). Defendants agreed to pay plaintiff $900,000 in addition to any sums he had received pursuant to the LHWCA.