Articles Posted in Workplace Accidents

On Friday morning, Deputy Lonnie Thacker of the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office responded to a two vehicle car accident on I-49 northbound. While sitting in the right lane with the emergency lights on, Deputy Thacker’s patrol vehicle was struck from behind by a Kia Sorento, causing both vehicles to veer off the road. Deputy Thacker was inside the vehicle at the time and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Sorento was taken to Oschner Hospital and reported only minor injuries.

The Caddo Sheriff’s office has turned over the investigation to the Louisiana State Police. Impairments are not expected to a contributing factor, but the State Police believe distraction to the driver is the cause of the accident.

Broussard & David extends their condolences to Deputy Thacker’s family and friends as well as the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office.

Late last month, a tank owned by Texas Petroleum exploded on Catfish Lake near Golden Meadow. The United States Coast Guard responded to a call by sending a helicopter and a locally stationed unit. Local Firefighters and state hazardous materials units also responded, successfully dousing the fire.

During an evacuation, one person was injured, suffering burns to his body. The person was transported to Terrebonne General Hospital where he was stabilized. Authorities established a three quarters of a mile perimeter around the explosion, but put out the fire before any residents were threatened.

The tank held crude oil before the oil was to be sent into the pipeline system. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

MORGAN CITY – As many as eight people were hurt in an explosion reported at a natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said the incident was reported sometime before 3 o’clock after a well ignited. The victims reportedly suffered varying burn injuries in the explosion.

The patients were taken by boat to a dock in Morgan City. Helicopters were expected to land there to move those victims to a hospital.

Six of the nineteen people onboard a 129-foot commercial lift boat that capsized off the Louisiana coast Tuesday afternoon have been rescued so far. The vessel, the Seacor Power, had left port less than two hours before the accident and encountered rugged seas on its way out to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard was on the scene within 30 minutes and several other good Samaritan vessels have been assisting the Coast Guard in the search and rescue operation.

Broussard & David offers their thoughts and prayers to family and friends of the missing crewmembers in this difficult time and hope that all crewmembers are safely rescued.

An average of 16,500 car accidents occur daily across the United States. In the blink of an eye, a rear-end car accident can completely turn one’s life upside down by causing life-altering injuries. Such an event can leave one lost as to what to do next, scared as to the daunting recovery process that lies ahead, and confused as to where to even begin. Some insight into the expected process of legal settlements may aid you or a loved one in making important decisions following a tragic accident.

In Louisiana, a car accident resulting in an injury, death, or property damage resulting in over $500 requires the parties by law to contact the local police department. Following the accident, an injured party should seek legal assistance. This will significantly offset the post-accident burdens of both filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company and gathering  supporting evidence like medical examinations, photos, and witness testimony.

Further, an attorney can file suit against a negligent party, thereby holding that party liable for their actions. The lawsuit must be brought within 1 year of the date of the accident or else the claim is forever lost. Once the legal process begins, parties will work tirelessly to reach what is known as a settlement. A settlement resolves the dispute by dropping the claim before reaching trial in return for a monetary compensation. Settlement processes can last anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on the severity of the injuries and the accident. In the settlement process, the injured party seeks recompense for physical pain and suffering, repair or replacement of their car, medical expenses, mental anguish from the accident, lost wages, as well as other forms of damages.

Following the December 14th Salt Mine collapse, Cargill recently decided to shutter its salt production on Avery Island. Though its lease expires at the end of 2021, Cargill stated that the business decision was based on future economics and production capacity after a slow winter. All operations at the mine have been suspended since the incident due ongoing federal investigations.

 

Eighteen employees of Cargill, a global food corporation, reported to work inside Avery Island’s Salt Mine on December 14th. Those employees’ lives would change within hours as the salt mine’s roof collapsed, leaving two employees stranded inside. 

 

24-hour search teams began looking for the missing employees immediately; although, the rescue was not successful until the next day. Around 3:00pm on December 15th, the search team found the first employee and identified him as 27-year-old Lance Begnaud. The second employee, 41-year-old Rene Romero, was found later that evening. Both suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead upon recovery. 

ST. MARTINVILLE, LA – November 11, 2019

A Jones Act seaman was injured on January 29, 2016, when his coworker was piloting an Oceaneering survey vessel at high speeds while on his phone and slammed into a piling in the Empire Canal (Plaquemines Parish). The plaintiff was on the back deck of the vessel, an admittedly common practice at Oceaneering at the time, and he was slammed into the cab upon impact injuring his back.

Oceaneering contested liability arguing that the plaintiff should not have been on the back deck of the vessel while traveling at high speeds. Plaintiff successfully recovered under the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims based on evidence that the pilot was on the phone, the crew was improperly trained, and that Oceaneering failed to have rules regarding phone use while operating vessels, having a lookout, or passengers working on the back deck while moving.

A Harris County man is suing a Houston construction company following a work incident that left him with a broken ankle. Jose Louis Amador was working on a concrete removal project on Highway 249 when another worker mishandled the excavator that he was operating.

The suit states that Amador was cutting steel wire attached to the concrete barrier being removed when the excavator approached him. The operator of the excavator then tried to remove a large portion of the barrier that contained a piece of wire that had not been cut. Consequently, the barrier was pulled onto Amador’s leg, breaking his ankle. Apart from the physical pain of the injury, the inconvenience of regular medical appointments, and mental anguish, Amador’s sufferings also included the inability to return to work for an extended period of time.

Amador and his attorneys filed the complaint on April 30, 2019 in the Harris County District Court. It claims that the sister construction companies in charge of the project, Webber LLC and Webber Materials & Equipment LLC, exercised negligence in their failure to properly train and supervise their employees.

A Louisiana man is suing a Texas fishing captain following injuries suffered while working on the captain’s vessel. David Robling, the plaintiff, was working aboard the fishing boat, Red Bull, on February 20, 2019, when he suffered injuries resulting from the negligence and unseaworthiness of the ship-captain, Delbert E. Bull, Jr. The suit, filed in the Galveston County District Court, is in accord with the Jones Act, specifically 46 U.S.C. §30104, which protects seamen injured in the course of their employment and which affords them the right to legal action and a trial by jury against the ship’s owner.

According to Robling’s complaint, the ship’s captain, Bull, turned on the boat’s winch without warning the crew. As a result, the boards, nets, and tickler chains were thrown overboard. Without time to react, Robling found himself in the path of the chains, which wrapped around his chest and violently threw him to the deck of the boat. Unable to free himself, Robling was then struck by other falling equipment leading to injuries and mental anguish.

This is not Robling’s first legal encounter with Galveston’s maritime industry. In 2015, Robling filed a complaint against a shipping company after he tripped on equipment that the previous crew had left behind. The fall left Robling with serious and disabling injuries that could have been avoided had the ship’s owner or crew properly maintained the ship and its equipment or warned him of the existing hazards on deck.

Royal Caribbean International may have to pay $20.3 million to a former employee, who badly injured her hand while working on board a Miami-based cruise line, Voyager of the Seas, which was sailing out of Barcelona, Spain. In August of 2008, Lisa Spearman, a marketing and revenue manager for the cruise ship, severely injured her hand after attempting to help a nurse. While in port, the cruise ship conducted a routine fire safety drill. During this drill, some of the vessel’s semi-water right doors closed and one of the ship’s nurses she tripped and fell when she attempted to open and pass through one of the doors. The plaintiff jumped in to help the nurse, but when the plaintiff placed her hand on the door handle in an attempt to keep the door open, the door swung back and pinned the plaintiff’s hand. The nurse was unharmed, but the plaintiff suffered a broken middle finger, broken index finder, and the nails on both fingers were ripped from the cuticles.

After the injury, Royal Caribbean referred Spearman to a doctor in Barcelona. This doctor misdiagnosed her condition and incorrectly treated her injuries. Spearman participated in physical therapy for two years following the incident, while Royal Caribbean paid her a daily disability payment of $25.00, the amount stipulated in her employee disability insurance coverage. Two years after her injury, Royal Caribbean dismissed Spearman, stating that her injury prevented her from performing necessary safety tasks, such as lifting 50 pounds.

In 2016, Spearman brought suit against Royal Caribbean alleging the company was negligent regarding the door, failed to provide proper medical care, fired her for a non-performance related reason, and breached her employment contract by refusing to pay her full wages. After a three-week jury trial, the jury found Royal Caribbean at fault and ordered the cruise line to pay the plaintiff $20.3 million in damages, lost wages, and future medical expenses. Royal Caribbean will be appealing the decision of the trial court.