Henry, a husband and father of three small children, was a deckhand and mate with Point Comfort Towing, assigned to the harbor tug boat M/V Edith. The tug was at dock in Point Comfort, Texas, when Henry boarded it in the morning to start his work duties. As Henry was going up one of the stairways on the tug to go to the doghouse, he slipped and fell to one knee, injuring the knee. Henry was helped off the vessel and taken to the emergency room.
After some initial testing and physical therapy, Henry had arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Henry continued to have problems. The company sent Henry to a different doctor, who recommended a larger knee surgery, namely a lateral retinacular release surgery. Henry underwent this procedure.
This company doctor advised that Henry should permanently stop working offshore, and should seek a light duty occupation. When hearing this, the company asked the doctor to reconsider this. The doctor refused. So the company asked the doctor to send Henry to another company clinic to have a Functional Capacity Evaluation. Not surprisingly this company clinic said Henry could work heavy duty with no restrictions. However, the company doctor said he disagreed and did not allow Henry to work beyond light duty.
Upon seeing this, the company told the doctor that he did not understand Henry's work duties, and asked the doctor to reconsider. The doctor refused.
This was a rare situation where the company was clearly conflicting with the company's own chosen doctor.
After this and more games and tricks by the company, Henry hired our law firm. We filed Henry's Jones Act lawsuit in Calhoun County, Texas. We proved that Point Comfort Towing was liable for Henry's injury because the stairs on its tug were too steep, in violation of OSHA Section 1910.24. In addition, the steps did not have proper non-skid material on them, and the stairway only had one hand rail that was loose. All of this was more than enough to prove maritime negligence.
We hired multiple expert witnesses to support Henry's case, including a retired tug boat captain, life care planner, vocational rehabilitation specialist, and economist.
Henry's largest claim was for lost wages. Henry was only 88.5 days away from obtaining his Captain's license, which would have doubled his annual salary from $50,000 to $100,000. Based on this model, Henry's loss of future wage earning capacity was substantial.
We mediated and settled the case for $500,000 less than a year after we filed it. With these funds, Henry will be able to protect his future and the future of his wife and three young children.