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Settlements And Results From Our Cases

$11,450,000 – Crew member suffers second and third-degree burns over 60% of his body after vessel strikes an underwater gas pipeline; dies 28 days later

St. Martin & Bourque represented the family of a crew member who sustained serious, and ultimately fatal, burn injuries when his vessel struck and punctured an underwater gas pipeline. At the time of the allision, the vessel was attempting to navigate to an oil storage facility. The gas escaping from the pipeline subsequently ignited and the vessel was engulfed in flames. As a result, the crew member suffered second and third-degree burns to almost 60% of his body. The crew member underwent inpatient treatment at a local burn unit for 28 days, but unfortunately died as a result of his horrific injuries.

The suit was filed against various entities, including the owner of the vessel, the owner of the pipeline, and the owners of the oil storage facility. After taking over 20 depositions and litigating the case for over two years, we were able to reach settlements with all of the defendants totaling $11,450,000.00.

$11,000,000 SETTLEMENT – JONES ACT/GENERAL MARITIME LAW CLAIM; MULTIPLE INJURIES, INCLUDING PARAPLEGIA

Our client, a resident of the United Kingdom, was assigned as a floorhand to a jack-up drilling rig working in the Gulf of Mexico. Our client was working on the drill floor when a metal plate/cover on the rig’s top drive fell approximately 90 feet to the rig floor and struck the plaintiff on the left side of his body. Our client suffered numerous injuries, including a left brachial plexus injury, several broken ribs, fractures of several lumbar vertebrae, injury to his spinal cord, a ruptured spleen, contusions to his liver and lungs, an open fracture and dislocation of the left ankle, ruptured tendons and dislocation of the right ankle, along with other internal injuries.

Our client was trapped under the metal plate until the plate was removed by one of his co-workers. Our client was flown to shore and initially underwent surgery to remove his spleen and repair his numerous internal injuries. Our client subsequently underwent five surgeries on his left ankle, a surgery on his right ankle, and a five level fusion of his spine involving pedicle screws and fixator rods. Our client was hospitalized for approximately six months following the accident during which time he underwent extensive physical and occupational therapy.

As a result of his injuries, our client, who was 23 years old at the time of the accident, was rendered a paraplegic and now has limited use of his left arm because of his brachial plexus injury. Our client did not have a severed spinal cord, but suffered extensive nerve damage in the lumbar spine in the area of the fractured vertebrae. Our client did have a return of bowel, bladder and sexual function. Our experts opined that his special damages, including his future life care plan, were approximately 4.5 to 5 million dollars. Our client’s claims were settled at mediation for $11,000,000.

RAILROAD ACCIDENT; WRONGFUL DEATH; $1.825 MILLION

Our clients were the wife and son of a man who was severely injured when his car was struck by a railroad maintenance vehicle (referred to as a “tamper”) at a highway/rail crossing in Red River Parish, Louisiana. As our clients’ husband/father approached the unguarded crossing, a tamper crossed the road. Due to the layout of the crossing, our clients’ husband/father did not see a second tamper that was following. The second tamper struck our clients’ husband/father’s vehicle near the front door on the driver’s side and pushed the vehicle northward for about 175 feet. The post-accident investigation revealed that the tamper operator violated various railroad rules, thus causing the crash. These rules included requiring on-track maintenance equipment to yield the right-of-way to vehicular traffic at crossings.

Our clients’ husband/father was severely injured and died after spending eleven arduous weeks hospitalized in a critical care unit. Over the course of this 11-week hospitalization, the injured man’s wife stayed by his side, comforting him as he raised fears of his death and struggled with the decision to ultimately remove life support. The case settled at mediation for $1.825 Million.

$1,065,000 SETTLEMENT – ARISING OUT OF HEAD-ON FATAL COLLISION WITH 18-WHEELER

A vehicle occupied by our client’s relatives was heading southbound on Interstate 59 when an 18-wheel tractor-trailer truck (travelling northbound on Interstate 59) experienced a catastrophic failure of its front tire. The semi to crossed the median and entered the southbound lanes of Interstate 59, striking the smaller vehicle and killing the four occupants thereof. The deceased were survived by our seven clients who consisted of the wife and four children of the driver, the three siblings of a passenger (which consisted of the driver’s wife and her two siblings) and three children of the other two passengers (which consisted of the driver’s wife and her two siblings).

After a year of extensive discovery and pre-trial motions (to resolve insurance coverage issues), the lawyers of St. Martin & Bourque were able to settle our client’s claims for a total of $1,065,000.

$1MIL SETTLEMENT RESULTING FROM 18-WHEELER COLLISION

Our client was moving a John Deere tractor with a hay baler along the shoulder of Highway 90 in St. Charles Parish when an 18-wheeler unsuccessfully attempted to pass, striking the rear of the hay baler, pushing it 78 feet from the point of impact causing our client to be ejected.

As a result of the accident the client sustained closed head injuries, multiple abrasions and cuts to his head, face, right arm, upper back, hip, thigh, leg and ankle, and multiple cervical fractures. The man ultimately underwent a two-level anterior cervical fusion along with carpal tunnel surgery and an ulnar decompression related to injuries to his wrist and shoulder. Additionally, our client was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome resulting in vertigo and cognitive and emotional disability.

After two years of litigation, the lawyers of St. Martin & Bourque were able to successfully negotiate a settlement of $1,000,000 on behalf of our client.

$900,000 SETTLEMENT – FALL FROM PERSONNEL BASKET; CLOSED HEAD INJURY WITH CEREBRAL CONCUSSION; COGNITIVE DEFICITS AND MIGRAINE HEADACHES; CERVICAL AND LUMBAR SPRAIN

Our client, a 27-year-old telecommunications technician, suffered a 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 backward 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.