SEAMAN INJURED WORKING ON BARGE OVER INTER COASTAL WATERWAY RECEIVES $9,000,000 SETTLEMENT
Jones Act Seaman Claim
On January 26, 2009 our client sustained a left leg fracture in an on the job accident which occurred when he was employed as a carpenter for Skanska, a marine construction company that was contracted to build the new Bridge of Lions over the Intercostal Waterway in St. Augustine, Florida.
Our client was working from a man-basket that had been placed on a barge. He exited the man-basket to assist in the alignment of a girder. In the process the crane that was also working from the barge attempted to lift the girder causing the barge to list. This caused the man basket to shift and crushed our client’s leg which resulted in a fracture.
Our client underwent surgery with placement of plates and screws. Despite extensive physical therapy our client continued to experience leg pain and subsequently developed left knee pain. He underwent additional arthroscopic surgery approximately 14 months following the initial injury. During that surgery our client developed DVT and was placed on Coumadin, an anti-coagulation drug.
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While on Coumadin his blood was checked regularly in order to maintain the proper PRO-TIME and INR. On one of the follow up visits the PRO-TIME/INR was found to be elevated beyond the therapeutic range. In June of 2010, 17 months after the initial broken leg, our client had a fall at home and was rushed to the hospital with headaches, visual problems and deteriorating mental condition. A CT scan of the brain was positive for a large, right sided subdural hematoma with herniation. Our client was placed on a ventilator and subsequently underwent surgery in the form of a craniotomy to remove the subdural hematoma. This resulted in significant and permanent brain damage.
Our client was left with loss of vision in one eye, loss of memory and significant behavioral deficits. He was treated at Neuro Restorative, a facility in Orlando specializing in the treatment of brain injury. He underwent short and long term Neuro Rehabilitation. His treating physicians opined that he would require 24/7 care for the remainder of his life expectancy. Our client was unable to handle his affairs and a guardian was established to represent his interests.
Because at the time of injury our client was legally a seaman in the course and scope of his employment, his claim was governed by Maritime Law. He was a seaman covered by the Jones Act. John Alpizar argued that under the negligence standard set forth in the Jones Act not only was the initial broken leg cause by negligence , but the subsequent injury caused by the fall at home while our client was on Coumadin due to the DVT was also causally related to the original incident.
The defense took the position that the subsequent fall resulting in the subdural hematoma was not casually related to the original incident. John Alpizar retained the services of Paul Deutsch and Associates to prepare a life care plan setting for the projected future medical needs that our client would require over his lifetime. Dr. Frederick Raffa, from Raffa Consulting Economists, Inc., was retained to calculate the cost of future medical care as well as the value of his loss of earnings in the past and into the future. Our client was also evaluated by Dr. Greg O’Shanick a Nationally Renowned Neuropsychiatrist from Virginia to assist in evaluating the nature of our client’s deficits and future likely medical needs.
After 3 unsuccessful meditations John Alpizar of Alpizar Law, LLC negotiated a lump sum settlement. The settlement provided for a lump sum payment of $8,950,000.00 and continued payment of medical benefits known as cure and continued payment of ongoing wages known as maintenance. Those benefits were continued until the case was concluded with the approval of the settlement by the guardianship court in May of 2013.
The total settlement was approximately $9,050,000. This is one of the largest settlements in a maritime claim in central Florida.
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