HomeTestimonialsOil Platform Rover Gets Huge Settlement After Brain Injury

Oil Platform Rover Gets Huge Settlement After Brain Injury

“The Young Firm helped us through everything. When you first start the process, you’re very, very scared. You’re wondering, you know, what if my car breaks down, what am I going to do? And the help is there. They will help you get through the entire thing.”

“When I found out how much my case was settling for, it was just a tremendous burden off of my shoulders. I could actually feel like I could breathe.” Jacob J. | Confidential Settlement | Head & Brain Injury

In July 2017, Jacob was a 38-year-old employed as a Rover on a deepwater oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He was performing a routine operation of preparing to trip pipe. He was opening the doors to the PS 30s when the operator pulled too hard on the tugger cable causing a 50-pound swivel block to fly up and strike Jacob in his head. He had a 5cm deep cut on his forehead that was deep enough to see bone. After his accident, he suffered from headaches, ear pain, memory loss, dizziness, neck, and shoulder pain for months until he found out that he had a herniated disc and axonal shearing in his brain. It became clear that Jacob was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and needed help.

According to Hopkins Medicine, a “traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a sudden, external, physical assault damages the brain. It is one of the most common causes of disability and death in adults.” While Jacob was lucky to be alive after his accident, he was facing a lifetime of struggle because of his injury. Not knowing if he could ever work again, Jacob reached out for help. With our extensive legal experience, we won Jacob enough money to live on for the rest of his life.

Jacob’s Battle for His Future After His Brain Injury

0:07 When I first hired Tim as my attorney, the first thing they told me was, “Don’t worry. Anything you need, call us.” And I’m probably the most skeptical person in the world. And when someone tells you that, you just kind of let it go in one ear out the other. But when I did call, they answered and they took care of me and it’s hard to find that.

A Not So Normal Day of Tripping Pipe on an Oil Rig: Jacob’s Accident

Jacob's brain injury

0:36 The day the accident happened was just a normal, regular any other day and we were performing a simple task of opening up the doors on the power slips, getting ready to trip pipe. The operator came up a little too hard on it and when it broke free, the thimble of the cable struck me in the forehead causing a herniated C6/C7 disc and some axonal shearing in my brain.

1:03 The company really handled the situation incorrectly. Like I said, I thought that he should have been airlifted immediately just looking at the pictures of his injury and then I wasn’t even aware of exactly what happened at that point, but he’s sitting there with a big, giant gash on his head that is simply butterflied together.

“I really wished the company had treated me a little better and took better care of me. Maybe I’d still be able to work out there if they would’ve done the right thing.”

His Brain Injury Symptoms Kept Getting Worse & Worse

1:37 I could feel a slow decline in my work performance and my pain levels and things started getting worse, turning downhill for me with the particular injury that nobody knew I had. I knew something was wrong. Other people were telling me that there was something wrong. It got to the point where I just couldn’t perform what I was doing safely and I knew it and I had to take actions because nobody else would. And that’s whenever I decided to contact somebody for some advice.

2:08 If you’re hurting that bad and you’re not getting any relief from it and no one is willing to help you get relief from it, then it just comes down to doing what you have to do to make sure that you and your family are okay.

They Were Hesitant to Hire an Attorney But Were Glad They Took the Risk

2:24 She [my wife] was like me on hiring an attorney, was real, real hesitant about it. Because when you’re involved in something like this or an accident, you don’t know what’s going to happen or if this is the right move, will I ever work in the oilfield again or much less work again? And so I’m sure her concerns were very high as well as mine about hiring an attorney.

2:53 When Jake and I first started discussing hiring an attorney, we talked about, you know, what the good points and the bad points of it. We talked about, would he be able to continue working, how would we live if he did enter into a lawsuit. Cause we, neither one of us had any idea how any of this work.

“When we found out that The Young Firm focused on maritime law, we were fairly certain that we had been pointed in the right direction.”

3:29 You know that would probably be our better outcome to, would be to deal with a firm that focused on that type of injuries.

A Settlement So Big the Company Demanded Confidentiality

3:38 When I found out how much my case was settling for, it was just a tremendous burden off of my shoulders. I could actually feel like I could breathe.

3:49 The Young Firm helped us through everything. When you first start the process, you’re very, very scared. You’re wondering, you know, what if my car breaks down, what am I going to do? And the help is there. They will help you get through the entire thing.

4:07 Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Don’t be scared. Just if you’re not being taken care of properly, find somebody to help you. It is worth it.

Tim Discusses the Challenges in Jacob’s Case

It was a real pleasure representing Jacob then helping he and his wife through this case. Jacob’s case presented a classic example of what happens when a person continues to work for a company after their injury. Jacob’s sustained a bad head injury while he was working on an oil rig and to his credit he stayed out there as long as he could. One of the biggest challenges we have with this case was that the company was using the weeks and even months that he stayed out there after his injury against him once he ultimately had to file suit. We filed the Jones Act claim for Jacob and we also filed a third-party case against one of the other companies that was on the rig because they were both responsible for his injury. We successfully recovered money from both companies for Jacob and his family.

Jacob, like a lot of our clients, suffered a head injury. We’ve handled many cases where people have had traumatic brain injuries in the past. One of the biggest challenges with those cases, just like it was in Jacob’s case, is that typically the imaging of the brain, what you see on the test and the imaging can indicate a brain injury, but it can also be explained away by company-hired experts due to other causes and other symptoms. So in Jacob’s case, we faced that just like we have in other cases where the company will come in, they’ll hire an expert that they buy and pay for and that expert will then a lot of times try to dismiss what’s seen on the films as just normal aging and a normal wear and tear process in someone’s brain. In our case, we successfully were able to argue that it really resulted from his accident out on the rig, and this was not something that you would expect to see in a normal, healthy developed brain of an adult.

We had multiple experts, experts that are pretty typical in a serious case like Jacob had. We had a liability expert. This is just a fancy word for a fellow who came in and said what was done wrong and why the companies were at fault and why Jacob was not at fault. That’s just as important. Sometimes experts are brought in to critique or criticize the company’s actions, but it’s just as important that they can back up and support what the injured party did because at the end of it, the companies try to blame the injured party. So to have a good expert in there explaining that he didn’t do anything wrong is very important.

Another expert that we brought in was a life care planner, and this is a fancy word for basically an expert that comes in, visits with the family, visits with the client, figures out the kind of stuff that they have trouble doing around their house. Maybe they need a little more help than they used to before the accident and they come up with the laundry list. It’s literally an itemized list of stuff that they need, help they need around the house and the cost of that. So that created an amount in addition to his pain and suffering, in addition to his wages, in addition to his actual medical costs, like surgeries, et cetera. That’s called a life care planner. That was one of the experts we used.

Another expert we had was a job expert, because of the nature of Jacob’s injury. It was questionable what type of work, if any, he could do in the future. And so this expert comes in. Jacob, like a lot of offshore fellows and a lot of fellows who work on boats and barges, he was from a small town. Because of that, the job expert has to know that area, has to be able to explain. there’s not much they can do back home once their career is ended off off the rigs or the boats.

So we brought the job expert in and then an economist, just a very basic expert. This fella is someone who takes the dollar amounts that they are today. He figures out what does that mean five, 10, 20 years down the road. And he does this discounting, they call it in court and he will come into court if necessary, at trials. He comes in and explains this is the whole amount that they need today to spread out the rest of their life to really get back to where they should be.

So those were some of the experts that we had Jacobs case and I think they really help to show what he went through. The biggest thing you’re doing in a case like this is trying to paint a picture for the jury. You want the jury to kind of see, you know, the whole story as it goes through: what happened, who’s responsible, what immediate issues happen such as surgery in this case, and then where are they going to be in five years or 10 years. And to do that, a lot of times you slot experts in along the way. And those were some of the experts that we needed in a case like this.

Even though Jacob’s injury and the fact that he had an accident on the rig was very clear, his case still took time to develop. It took hiring the right experts. We went through an initial phase of sitting down with the companies trying to resolve this case and they actually offered 10% of what they ultimately ended up paying. People would look at the case and they would tell us, other attorneys, they’d say, this is a no brainer. They’re going to pay the money right away. Clearly this is an open and shut case, that type of language.

Even in a situation like this, it takes work. It takes getting the right experts. It takes being able to show these companies, when we go to court, this is exactly what we will prove and you need to pay a reasonable settlement or we’re simply going to go to court and Jacob’s case, even in his case, it took two or three steps to get them, bring them along and get them to that point where they did pay a very fair amount for he and his family.

The companies honestly realized that we weren’t gonna back down. They started with very low numbers. We ended up having to go to the court. The court sort of told them their numbers were low. We ultimately went through another settlement process. I think it took bringing the experts on board. It took going the distance, and that’s what contributed to a very, very good settlement for he and his wife. Jacob himself actually was a wonderful client. Just a very, very nice individual. And that does go a very long way in getting a company to pay what’s fair in cases.

Fortunately, the case worked out great for Jacob. He and his family have enough money where he never has to work again in his life. And we’re very proud to have represented Jacob and to help he and his family through this very tough, tough time that they had.

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