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Millions Recovered

  • $5,400,000.00 settlement involving a seaman who fell from a stairway during fire and boat drill aboard a container ship sustaining quadriplegic injuries. Partners Mellusi and Shisha personally inspected the vessel taking hundreds of measurements and still and videos of every stairway in the ship’s main deck house. The data was compared with the vessel’s design plans in our library which demonstrated the vessel had been negligently constructed in that it failed to follow the naval architect’s original design specifications.
  • $2,400,000 jury award to a licensed marine engineer who sustained permanent knee injuries while attempting to remove a 200 lb. valve from an overhead piping system. Partner Mellusi personally inspected the ship’s engine room taking detailed photos and measurements. A duplicate valve was obtained from a maritime junkyard and was brought into court along with an auto-shop mechanical hoist capable of lifting it 12 feet to demonstrate the vessel lacked suitable means to perform this work safely. The jury award was in top ten verdicts in the United States for a comparable knee injury. The case was tried to verdict in a New York Federal Court.
  • $2,980,000.00 jury award to a ship’s cook for back injury resulting from insufficient procedures for moving ship stores. Case tried in New York federal court.
  • $2,700,000.00 settlement to a mate on a Tanker vessel who sustained multiple fractures.
  • $2,000,000.00 was awarded to a barge deckhand – wrongful death.
  • $1,827,000 awarded to a marine engineer working on a US Government supply vessel who fell into an unguarded ventilation fan causing neck, shoulder and hand injuries. The case was tried non-jury before a federal judge in Baltimore Federal Court. The court award was subsequently determined to be within the highest ten verdicts for the State of Maryland in 2009.
  • $1,200,000.00 jury award to a ship’s Bosun who sustained shoulder and neck injuries while attempting to move plywood sheets on main deck of vessel during 40 knot winds. Case tried in New York Federal Court.
  • $950,000 awarded to passenger killed when his recreational boat came into collision with tow wire of tug and barge
  • $850,000 settlement, Federal Court Allentown PA., to seaman sustained herniated disk while lifting a 110 lbs crane hooks.
  • $840,000 jury award to a seaman who fell from ladder while painting sustaining fractured wrist.
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Commercial fishermen and equipment-related injuries

Individuals who work aboard commercial fishing vessels face many daily hazards. Quarters are cramped and, to avoid malfunction and injury, equipment used aboard fishing vessels must be properly maintained and stored. Additionally, seamen must often attempt to perform work duties in challenging weather conditions, which often compounds and creates many additional safety hazards.

Given the numerous risks that are inherent to working aboard a commercial fishing vessel, employers must take steps to ensure seamen are sufficiently trained and that equipment is in proper working order and well maintained. In cases where employers fail to fulfill these duties, seamen may suffer equipment-related injuries including puncture wounds, amputations, fractures, traumatic brain injuries and drownings.

A trawl winch is among one of the most vital and dangerous pieces of equipment aboard any fishing vessel. Weighing several tons, winches are used to let out, change the position of and reel in fishing lines and nets. In cases where a fisherman or his or her clothing becomes entangled in a line, net or winch drum; severe injuries and even death may result.

In addition to injuries related to the operation of trawl winches, those involving other types of equipment used to process fish and other seafood may also result in a fisherman suffering cuts, puncture wounds and finger amputations. While many of these types of injuries are not typically deadly, they require medical treatment and often months of recovery time. In some cases, these types of injuries may also inhibit an individual's ability to return to work.

Fishermen, who have suffered injuries while aboard a vessel, would be wise to immediately alert an employer and seek medical treatment. It's also important to document how an injury occurred and if the improper maintenance of equipment or machinery may have been a contributing factor.

Source: Maritime Injury Guide, "Trawl Winch Injuries," Feb. 27, 2015

Maritime Injury Guide, "Maritime Fish Processing Equipment Accidents," Feb. 27, 2015

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