Blasting Supervisor Settles Jones Act Case For Injury While Working On A Spar
Admiralty & Maritime
V&B Attorney's client, Byron, was a relief supervisor for his company. He would oversee crews and make sure the blasting and painting his crews were performing was being done in a safe manner.
In 2009, Byron was working on a leg of a spar that was undergoing significant maintenance. As Byron was painting, other maintenance crews above him were being rushed by the project manager. In order to finish the job quickly, corners were cut, and one of the crews not under Byron's supervision did not follow proper safety procedures and dropped a large air compressor. It fell at least twenty feet. Unfortunately, Byron was on one of the spar legs beneath the air compressor, and the compressor came crashing down on his shoulder.
Emergency rescue crews had to assist Byron off of the spar because his injuries were severe. A medic performed a physical exam on Byron and quickly determined that Byron had to be air-lifeted off the spar and taken to a clinic.
After seeing many doctors, who were referred by the company, Byron finally underwent shoulder surgery to repair the damage. Unfortunately, the first surgery performed by the company doctor did not heal the damage and Byron had to undergo another surgery. Following the second surgery, Byron underwent painful physical therapy for months. When the company doctor told Byron that he would have permanent restrictions for life and would not be able to work offshore, Byron was scared about his future and how he would provide for his new wife so he contacted Curtis Bickers, an experienced attorney in maritime cases.
When the company refused to take responsibility for the injuries that changed Byron's life forever, a lawsuit was filed. During the discovery process of the lawsuit, the company tried to blame Byron for his injuries by claiming he should have seen the compressor being yanked and got out of the way. The company continued to take the position that the injury was Byron's fault even in a mediation, which resulted in the case not settling during that mediation. With a jury trial coming up, the company offered more money and the case settled for a confidential amount.
Tankerman Injured While Being Forced to Work With Little Sleep
Admiralty & Maritime
In the Spring of 2009, Jonathan was working on a tug as a tankerman. Having worked for this particular company for over a year and a half, Jonathan was considered by his captain to be experienced. So, it wasn't a surprise to Jonathan that, one night while docked in Texas City, he was asked by his captain to help an inexperienced tankerwoman out with her duties.
Jonathan, however, had just finished his now 12-hour shift. He had been asleep for just a few minutes when the captain asked him to help the tanker woman. Being a good, helpful worker, he got up and aided her in her tasks. He went back to his bunk a while later, hoping to get a few hours of sleep before his next shift. Jonathan had just fallen back asleep when the captain woke him again with the same request.
The tankerwoman needed his helpagain. This time, Jonathan recognized that she was in real danger because she was so inexperienced. He took over her barge at the captain's instruction.
She left her tools and tool bucket on the catwalk - against safety procedures. As Jonathan walked across the catwalk, he tripped over them, not realizing they were there. He fell hard onto the barge.
Pain & numbness. He couldn't feel his right arm - he'd tried to catch himself when he fell, a normal reaction to falling, and suffered intense pain immediately.
The captain saw Jonathan lying on the barge. He went over to see what happened, and realizing that Jonathan was in acute pain, asked that Jonathan be taken to the hospital immediately.
Wanting to wait and send Jonathan to a company doctor, the company denied the captain's request to get Jonathan to the hospital. Jonathan was made to wait in excruciating pain until it was convenient for the company doctor to see him. The doctor informed Jonathan that his triceps had "exploded," and he recommended that Jonathan undergo reparative surgery immediately. During the surgery, it was confirmed that his muscle had shredded, essentially exploding inside his body.
Not only did the company make Jonathan wait to receive medical attention for his injury, they forced him to sign an incomplete and inaccurate incident report. If he didn't sign it, then they wouldn't send him to the company doctor. They threatened to withhold necessary medical treatment from him. So, he signed it. He was then forced to be accompanied by a company representative at all of his doctor's appointments - the company representative even sat in the room with Jonathan while he was examined. (Workers do not have to allow company representatives to be present during doctor examinations.) These are all tricks companies use to reduce, negate, or disprove injury claims. We at V&B have seen them in too many cases to count.
Eventually, the company offered Jonathan less than $5,000 IF he would sign a waiver. Jonathan realized he needed legal help to get the compensation he deserved for his injury. He was reluctant about hiring an attorney because he was afraid of being blackballed from the maritime industry if he filed a lawsuit.
He had heard stories about companies pretending to care about an injured worker - promising the injured worker that the company would take care of lost wages and medical bills - only to turn around and fire the injured worker. Blackballing the injured worker in the maritime industry at the same time.
Jonathan's case was taken on by V&B - Curtis Bickers took charge of his case. It was headed for trial, but during a pre-trial mediation, the case was settled for a confidential amount. With this money, Jonathan will be able to get back on his feet financially after being out of work and having medical bills from the surgery and intense physical therapy to repair the damage to his arm. He will also be able to provide for his child, which makes him more confident about his future.
Curtis settles oilfield injury case against Nabors Drilling
Jun 06, 2013
A worker employed as a casing hand by Express Energy Services was on a job at a land-based oil rig operated by Nabors Drilling in Gillette, Texas. The worker was flagging a Nabors employee who was using a crane to move a pipe from the V door to the rig floor. The Nabors crane operater improperly maneuvered the load, causing it to hit the worker's left arm.
The worker had surgery to his arm, requiring the placement of hardware. The worker missed 6 months of work, then returned to his job with Express Energy Services.
All of the medical bills were paid by workers compensation.
The worker hired our law firm, and we filed this third party work injury lawsuit in Harris County, Texas.
One of the main defenses asserted by Nabors Drilling was Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. Our attorneys defeated this defense by showing that Nabors had "actual knowledge of the danger or condition resulting in" the injury, and "failed to adequately warn." Specifically, through written discovery and deposition testimony, our lawyers proved that Nabors was having problems with its crane before this incident, in that it would get "stuck" at times. Nabors knew about this problem, but never fixed it.
After significant work on this case, we settled it for $350,000.
Our client, a 26 year old oil field worker, lives in El Campo, Texas with his wife and 6 month old daughter. This young family was very pleased with this settlement, and they are very fortunate that this young man returned to his job and will be able to continue to provide for his family
Fast Food Employee Settles Slip & Fall Case
Slip and Fall Accident
Dec 07, 2012
Client working for Wendy's was forced to move heavy boxes of meat in a freezer even though manager knew it was not safe. The floor of the freezer would have patches of ice that the workers could not see. Client was being rushed by manager to finish job quickly when he slipped and fell and hurt his back. Wendy's gave our client the run around by sending him to different doctors and delaying approval of necessary treatment prescribed by the various doctors.
Slip and Fall at Galveston Hotel
Slip and Fall Accident
Mar 04, 2013
Represented client who slipped and fell on water at hotel bar in Galveston, Texas. Hotel initially denied all liability. Due to prior hip injury as a child, client's treating physician in New Orleans recommended total hip replacement. Case settled shortly after taking treating physician's deposition in New Orleans.