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03/31/2020

Vuk Vujasinovic & VB Attorneys Obtain a Winning Jones Act Settlement for an Offshore Crane Operator

Brian Beckcom

Brian Beckcom

03/31/2020

Our client, Robert, had been working in the offshore industry for 16 years as a crane operator. At age 37, Robert was working on a drillship for a prominent maritime company when he was injured. He was a seasoned crane operator with a steady income and a very promising and fruitful offshore career ahead of him. 

Tool Basket Relocation Gone Wrong

Robert’s peers, including another crane operator and two roustabouts, were moving a two-ton tool basket from one area of the aft panel deck to another when his supervisor ordered him to assist with the relocation. He was working a different crane on the drillship and by the time he arrived to assist his peers, the other crew members had already begun the operation. The tool basket had already been lifted off the deck. 

The conditions were harsh, the temperature was 16 degrees Fahrenheit and the winds were at eight knots. Amidst the frigid gusts, Robert used a push/pull pole to grab the tagline that was laying underneath the elevated tool basket. He began using the tagline to help guide the tool basket to its intended position. That’s when Robert stepped awkwardly on a doubler plate that was fastened to the deck. He immediately felt his knee pop.

Robert immediately reported his injury to his supervisors. After properly reporting his injury, he received “medical care” from the ship doctor - an ice pack and ibuprofen. Robert endured excruciating pain for two full days until he was flown ashore for legitimate medical attention. He had suffered an injury to his left ACL and meniscus. 

Unpainted Doubler Plates Lead to Injury

Robert’s injury was totally and completely avoidable. In fact, just eight days following his injury, his company decided to paint every single doubler plate on the panel deck yellow and black. His company’s own morning reports, which documented the paint job, identified the doubler plates as “trip hazards” and “hazard squares.” At the time of Robert’s accident, the doubler plates were the same gray color of the deck itself. 

There was no question about it, Robert’s company was unequivocally liable for his injuries. In point of fact, Robert previously complained about the doubler plates and his company did nothing to address the hazardous situation. They should have, and easily could have, removed or tiger-striped the doubler plates before he sustained his injuries. The company’s negligence, as well as the unseaworthiness of its vessel, caused Robert’s injuries.     

Robert’s accident left him with a damaged ACL and a torn meniscus. Since his injury, he has undergone three surgeries by three different specialists. The surgeons performed debridement procedures on Robert’s meniscus and the last surgery was an attempt to reconstruct his ACL. His doctors told him he will likely need an entire knee replacement.  

Robert will never work offshore again. 

A Winning Jones Act Settlement

Since his surgeries, Robert has held several jobs. None of which were offshore and nor have they paid nearly as well as his jobs in the maritime industry. Robert worked hard his entire life to become a well established professional. His company’s negligence destroyed his knee and his career. To make matters worse, Robert had a mountain of medical expenses piling up in front of him. Unable to work in the marine industry, he felt helpless.

Houston personal injury attorney, Vuk Vujasinovic, is a leading authority in maritime law and a Jones Act expert with over two decades of experience battling negligent offshore companies. Vuk and the VB Attorneys team retained medical experts that were able to report on Robert’s injuries, medical procedures, and his future medical needs. Vuk was able to use these reports to effectively calculate Robert’s medical needs to argue for a settlement that would help Robert pay his medical bills, past, present, and future, while also ensuring his financial future. 

VB Attorneys filed a lawsuit under the Jones Act against his company and fought hard to get Robert the compensation he was rightfully entitled to. We are proud to have settled Robert’s case for a substantial amount. This settlement will ensure Robert’s financial stability. Vuk and VB Attorneys have won hundreds of cases just like Robert’s with record-setting verdicts and settlements. 

If you or someone you know has been injured working offshore, do not hesitate to take action. 

Marine companies are notorious for jamming witnesses and destroying evidence. They have armies of lawyers and insurance adjusters that will try to bully you into taking much less than you deserve. 

If you want an entire team of people dedicated to winning your case, you need to call 877-724-7800 or fill out a request for a consultation by clicking here.