Crane boom fell on top of fisherman working at pier – $2,000,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 19, 2015

Crane boom fell on top of fisherman working at pier – $2,000,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 19, 2015

Plaintiff was employed as a seaman working as a member of the crew of commercial menhaden fishing vessel on the Chesapeake Bay. During the fishing operation, one of the nets developed a large hole and the crew was required to take the net ashore to pull it up onto a finger pier for repair. During the operation, the net caught on the pier. While the plaintiff was freeing the net, a winch operator restarted the power block, without an order to do so. The tension on the power block and boom caused the boom to break and the boom and part of the heavy net fell on the plaintiff and three other fishermen, all of whom were injured. It took heavy equipment to free the plaintiff from beneath the heavy weight of the boom. Defendant did not assert a contributory negligence claim.

Plaintiff was taken by helicopter to VCU Medical Center. Plaintiff suffered head injuries, spinal fractures, tibia and fibula fractures, torn knee ligaments and nerve damage. He spent several weeks in a nursing care facility after he left VCU.

He suffers from a permanent knee injury that will require a knee replacement in the future, back injury, erectile dysfunction and other nerve damage. He further suffered from loss of earning capacity primarily as a result of knee damage, and cannot return to the duties of a seaman or any other heavy duty position.

Plaintiff’s experts were treating physicians.

The case was filed originally in Norfolk, and later moved by agreement to Lancaster County. Mediated with the aid of Phillip Blackburn, the case settled after two attempts at resolution.



Type of action: Maritime personal injury
Injuries alleged: Mild traumatic brain injury, loose and fractured teeth, T-5 compression spinal fracture, S-3 fracture causing erectile dysfunction, femur fracture, tibial plateau fracture, torn knee ligaments
Court: Lancaster County Circuit Court
Mediator: Phillip Blackburn
Date resolved: May 20, 2014
Special damages: $103,000 – medical damages; $66,000 – past wage loss; possible future medical damages – $75,000; possible future wage loss – $550,000
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Amount: $2,000,000
Attorneys for plaintiff: Deborah C. Waters, Norfolk; Ann L. Jones, Fairfax



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