$7,100,000.00 VERDICT FOR JONES ACT SEAMAN - FLOORHAND WITH INJURED KNEE AND LEG WITH COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. and Jason M. Welborn successfully litigated a Jones Act maritime case involving a floorhand who injured his leg and knee and who subsequently developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which essentially rendered him wheelchair bound for the remainder of his life. The accident occurred on a Coastal Drilling Company inland drilling barge, when an untrained co-worker/floorhand negligently disconnected a snub line (safety device) which was attached to the break out tongs during bit breaking operations. This action caused the tongs to swing around the rotary table striking plaintiff in the knee. Defendants argued that the plaintiff should have seen the disconnected snub line and/or was also responsible for supervising the "green" hand. Mr. Gaar and Mr. Welborn successfully convinced the Court that defendants and their driller, failed to properly train and supervise the new floorhand, and further that the driller violated the company's safety manual. Plaintiffs successfully argued that the plaintiff floorhand did not see the disconnected snub line due to the drill floor's being covered in dark sticky oil based mud, as well as plaintiff's fatigue from tripping pipe out of the hole for 5 hours, immediately prior to the bit breaking operation. Coastal Drilling Company and its attorneys aggressively challenged the lawsuit for nearly three years, and offered $2,000,000.00 immediately prior to trial in an attempt to settle the case. The matter was tried in Federal Court in Lafayette Louisiana and resulted in a cumulative award of over $7,100,000.00, plus a continuation of the payment of maintenance and cure benefits, until such time that the plaintiff reaches MMI.
Joseph F. Gaar and Lucas S. Colligan, obtained a $1.6 million settlement, with waiver of $150,000.00 comp subrogation, for an offshore worker who was injured in a personnel basket transfer accident. In this case, the plaintiff was being offloaded from a fixed offshore platform during windy conditions and rough seas, when the accident in question occurred. The accident occurred when after the PIC on the platform was overridden on his "Stop Work" authority by the company man, and told to make the lift anyway. During the transfer in 8 to 10 foot seas with winds at 25 to 30 mph, the personnel basket, with a tangled tag line was placed onto a small deck opening that was covered with equipment and uneven floor grating, which caused the offshore worker to sustain a hard landing jolting his body and knee. The accident was immediately reported to the workers supervisor and all witnesses testified that the conditions were such that the lift should not have gone forward.. Plaintiff filed suit alleging negligence and fault against the crane operator and his employer, as well as the crew boat captain and owner of the vessel, under the Admiralty and General Maritime Law. As a result of the accident in question, the plaintiff underwent cervical and lumbar surgeries as well as two knee surgeries.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully concluded an injury claim for a client who injured his lower back in a rear-end motor vehicle accident. Client was stopped for left turning traffic when his SUV was struck from the rear by a sanitation truck, as a result of the defendant driver's inattention as a result of a cell phone call. Client suffered two herniated disks in his lower back, ultimately resulting in multiple back surgeries, a lumbar fusion and ultimately a dorsal column stimulator. At the time of the accident, the client was a successful sales rep for an offshore service company. As a result of the accident and injuries sustained by client, he will be unable to return to employment other than sedentary to light duty. Mr. Gaar convinced the defendants and the excess insurer to pay $3,000,000.00 to compensate their client for his lost earnings, medicals and pain and suffering.
Lucas S. Colligan and Jason M. Welborn successfully litigated a case involving a deckhand who injured his back after he fell on a port-side stairway. The accident was unwitnessed, which left very little evidence of how the incident occurred. The vessel company aggressively challenged the lawsuit and offered less than $100,000 to settle the case. The matter was tried in Federal Court and resulted in a cumulative award of over $750,000.00.
Client was involved in a frontal collision with a commercial vehicle while both vehicles were going around a curve. The defense claimed that the amount of damage to the plaintiff's vehicle was too insignificant to result in severe injury. After taking all of the relevant depositions, the Jason M. Welborn and the Gaar Firm proved that the injuries were related to the accident and recovered $575,000 for the plaintiff, despite the fact that the plaintiff had been out of work for 2 years prior to the accident
Client was involved in an accident where she was rearended by another vehicle. As a result, the 63 year old plaintiff suffered injury to her lower back. Due to the fact that the client was already on Social Security disability before the accident, there was no wage loss. After incurring $28,000 in medical expenses, Jason M. Welborn and the Gaar Firm convinced the defendants to pay $375,000 in damages.
Client was in a motor vehicle waiting for oncoming traffic to clear to make a left turn when he was rear ended by another motor vehicle. Following the accident, client complained of neck and back pain, began receiving medical treatment, and subsequently missed ten months of work. The matter was filed in State Court and settled prior to trial for $235,000.
Female client complained of sexual comments and touching on the part of her supervisors over the course of her two months of employment, and was fired by the employer in retaliation shortly thereafter. Employer denied her termination was retaliation for making a sexual harassment complaint, claiming client was fired for violating certain company policies. Suit filed in federal court against the employer was settled for $145,000 prior to trial.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully litigated an electrocution and burn case, which resulted in a $4.25 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff received second and third degree burns over 60% of his body, as a result of coming into contact with a 10,000 volt un-insulated electrical line. At trial, Mr. Gaar established that power company was in violation of the National Electrical Safety Code applicable to plaintiff's accident, and was able to convince a jury to award his client $4,250,000.00 in damages.
Joseph F. Gaar obtained a $2.8 million settlement for an offshore worker who was injured in a personnel basket transfer accident. In this case, the plaintiff was being offloaded from a fixed offshore platform on a personnel basket when the accident in question occurred. The accident occurred when the crane operator, who was insufficiently trained, negligently placed the personnel basket onto the railing of the offshore crew boat onto which he was transferring. When the crane operator realized that he had negligently set the personnel basket down on the crew boat rail, he swung the crane, causing the personnel basket to crash and collapse on the rear deck of the offshore crew boat vessel. Plaintiff filed suit alleging negligence and fault against the crane operator and his employer, as well as the crew boat captain and owner of the vessel, under the Admiralty and General Maritime Law. As a result of the accident in question, the plaintiff underwent an anterior interbody lumbar fusion at L5-S1, which ultimately was unsuccessful and resulted in failed back syndrome. The plaintiff additionally underwent surgery for the implantation of a dorsal column simulator. At the original mediation, Mr. Gaar rejected a $1.3 million settlement offer by the defendants due to client's continuing low back complaints. Following the placement of the dorsal column simulator, Mr. Gaar was ultimately successful at a second mediation in settling claims for $2.8 million.
Our firm's auto accident attorneys represented a 72 year old gentlemen who was injured when the car he was riding in ran a stop sign causing an accident. As a result of the auto accident, our client suffer severe neck and back injuries that required surgery. During the case, our auto accident attorneys were successful in convincing the court that the insurance policy for the business owned by the driver applied to provide coverage to our client. After extensive medical discovery, the defendants paid a total of $1.525 Million dollars to settle the case.
In a confidential settlement, Jason M. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $1.5 million settlement, following mediation for a head injury, which resulted in a controlled seizure disorder. The plaintiff was employed at a pipe yard, and while working for his employer, he was required to traverse a dilapidated roof. While moving from one location to another, he was required to remove his safety harness from the existing life lines, in order to relocate to a new position. While in the process of relocating, he fell through a weak spot in the existing roof, suffering a concussion, a broken hand, and two broken ribs. Over the next few months, the plaintiff developed a seizure disorder, which caused him to have epileptic episodes on an occasional basis. The plaintiff's seizures were effectively controlled with a combination of medications, avoiding the necessity for brain surgery. Through diligent discovery and litigation efforts, Mr. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm were able to successfully convince the defendants that the accident fell outside of the Workers' Compensation immunity, and entitled the plaintiff to a recovery. More importantly, Mr. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm were able to successfully overcome the 1% comparative fault rule in Alabama. To explain, in Alabama, if a person is 1% responsible for their injuries, then they are not entitled to recover any amount. Through diligent litigation efforts, The Gaar Law Firm was able to convince the defendants that the plaintiff would not bear even 1% responsibility, despite the fact that he had untied from one life line, in order to move to a second life line. At mediation, Mr. Welborn was able to convince the defense attorneys that they faced substantial exposure, even though the 1% rule would deny the plaintiff recovery if proven. The $1.5 million recovery was a lump sum settlement for all damages incurred by the plaintiff.
Our firm's Lafayette Maritime Attorneys represented a man who was injured while attempting a personnel basket transfer from an oil rig to the deck of a boat. A previous attorney had advised the client his claim should be settled for $60,000. Our Lafayette Maritime Attorneys proved that the boat company and crane operator were negligent when they attempted the transfer in rough weather with an unqualified crane operator.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr., together with Texas attorneys, Glenn Diddel, Claudio Heredia and Rolando Jasso, were able to secure a $1.3 million settlement for their client, whose husband was killed as a result of an industrial accident. In that case, the client's husband was killed while loading a burnt work over rig onto a lowboy trailer. The accident occurred when the defendant and his co-workers were lifting the rig in question by its "headache rack" which was not designed to support the 20 ton rig. The plaintiff's husband was killed when the headache rack separated from the rig and fell, crushing him. The client, who also was a truck driver escort was present and witnessed her husband being killed. The defendant's primary argument was that the plaintiff's husband was an "employee" of the company and thus only entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The plaintiff had previously been to see another attorney who had her file for approximately six months and advised her that she "did not have a case" and returned her file materials to her. The widow came to see Mr. Gaar who took her case and filed suit in Texas. The plaintiff rejected a $300,000.00 settlement offer by the defendants during mediation and proceeded to trial. The Gaar Law Firm, together with Mr. Diddel, Mr. Heredia and Mr. Jasso, were able to successfully force the defendants to ultimately come up with 1.3 million to settle the case after nearly two weeks of trial testimony and before the client was to take the witness stand.
Our firm's Louisiana Wrongful Death Attorneys represented the family of a 17 year old girl who was tragically killed when she was hit by a truck while walking on the side of the road. The jury awarded damages of $1.275 million to the mother and father of the young lady. Our firm proved that the driver of the truck was traveling at an unsafe speed and was not paying attention to the road way at the time of the accident.
Our firm's Jones Act and Maritime attorneys represented a boat owner whose pleasure craft was partially capsized by the wake of a passing tug boat. While our client was tied to a dock doing repairs on his boat, a tug boat passed at a high rate of speed throwing a 6 foot wake. As a result, our client was forced to undergo back surgery for a herniated disc. At trial, our experienced maritime attorney convinced the court that the tug boat was operating at an unsafe speed and awarded $1.243 million dollars to compensate the victim.
Jason M. Welborn settled an auto accident case, resulting in spinal surgery for $1,180,000.00, representing the policy limits of the underlying defendant's insurance policy. The client was injured when he was traveling a Louisiana highway, during the time when farmers were burning their cane fields. The defendants in this matter had lit a cane field fire, to burn off cane residue, following the harvest season. The defendants lit the fire, and then left the scene of the fire, which allowed smoke to accumulate and obscure vision, for traffic traveling on the road. Unfortunately, an 18 wheeler, owned by one of the defendants entered the smoke bank, and then stopped within the smoke bank. As our client entered the smoke bank, he crashed into the rear of the stopped 18 wheeler, and was subsequently rear-ended by another vehicle. Jason M. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm filed suit against the farmer lighting the fire, the 18 wheeler stopping, and the rear-ending vehicle. During the course of the trial, Mr. Welborn successfully established coverage under the farmer's farm liability policy through Motions for Summary Judgment. After winning the issues of coverage, the defendants had no choice, but to tender their entire policy limits of $1,180,000.00, to compensate our client for his injuries. Mr. Welborn successfully convinced the defense attorney that it was necessary to tender this $1,180,000.00 policy limits, to avoid the potential for an excess judgment against their insured. The defendants elected this path, rather than proceeding to trial.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. settled a single level lumbar surgery case for defendants $1,000,000.00 policy limits plus plaintiff's UM and med-pay coverage of $15,000.00. The plaintiff was injured when a tow truck ran a red light and collided with his vehicle. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered a recurrent herniated disc in his lumbar spine. Prior to this accident, our client had prior lumbar surgery, and had successfully returned to work. Although the plaintiff had a successful lumbar surgery, his continuing complaints of pain led to him having a second surgical procedure to insert a dorsal column stimulator. In analyzing the damages available to the client, Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully convinced the defense attorney that it was necessary to tender their $1,000,000.00 policy limits to settle the claim, thus avoiding a potential excess Judgment against the towing company. The defendants tendered their entire $1,000,000.00 policy limits, rather than proceed to trial.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully settled a single level lumbar surgery case with the defendants for $965,000.00. In this case, our client was injured when he and his wife had stopped due to a flat tire. The husband and his wife had pulled over onto the shoulder of the interstate and were awaiting assistance when the husband, who had returned to his vehicle to retrieve a pack of cigarettes, was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Mr. Gaar was successful in establishing that this was the defendant driver's fourth DWI offense and prosecuted the criminal charges against the defendant driver prior to initiating civil proceedings. After successfully prosecuting the defendant on the DWI charges, Mr. Gaar was successful in taking off actual testimony and conducting all preliminary work in building the client's case prior to the filing of a lawsuit. As a result of the accident in question, the client underwent a single level instrumented lumbar fusion surgery. Since settlement, the plaintiff has returned to work.
Mr. Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. obtained a $950,000.00 settlement, following a two day trial, for injuries the plaintiff sustained while riding as a passenger in an offshore crew boat, which struck a submerged sandbar. At the time of this accident, the client was working as an offshore welder. The plaintiff was injured, while he and other crew members were being transported in a 32' crew boat, which was being piloted by an employee of the crew boat company. Following suit being filed, The Gaar Law Firm was able to uncover information, which indicated that the crew boat operator tested positive for drugs on the date of the accident in question. Additionally, The Gaar Law Firm discovered that approximately one week before the accident in question, the boat operator had been arrested for possession of marijuana. During trial, The Gaar Law Firm successfully proved, that on the date of the accident in question, the boat operator was unlicensed, inexperienced and unfamiliar with the route to be taken. Plaintiff additionally proved that the company man, who was an employee of a different company, had failed to inquire into the qualifications of the boat operator, prior to ordering the personnel to be taken into the field on the date of the accident in question. As a result of the boat operator's negligence, the crew boat stuck a submerged sandbar, while traveling at full throttle, in a curve, causing plaintiff to be trust into the windshield, thus injuring his neck. As a result of the accident in question, the plaintiff underwent a single level instrumented fusion. After a trial on the merits, and prior to the Court's issuing a decision, the parties were able to reach a settlement on the client's injuries. The Gaar Law Firm was successful in obtaining a $950,000.00 lump sum award from all parties, in full and final settlement of the plaintiff's claims.
The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $895,000.00 settlement for a single level cervical fusion, which resulted from an offshore accident. Our client was injured when a captain's chair he was using, to pilot a company vessel, overturned in rough seas. The plaintiff 's head struck the rear wall of the cabin, which resulted in a herniated disc in the cervical spine. His treating orthopedic surgeon performed a one level fusion. The defendants paid our client $895,000.00 for his pain and suffering, medical expenses, and past and future lost wages. It should be noted, that the average general damage award for a single level cervical fusion in Louisiana is $150,000.00. Thus, the Gaar Law Firm was successful in getting nearly five (5) times the amount generally awarded for similar injuries.
In a confidential settlement, The Gaar Law firm obtained a $857,500.00 confidential settlement, following mediation. The client was injured, as a result of a manlift malfunction and tip over accident, which occurred while at work. The client, who was employed as a rigger, was injured when a 120' aerial manlift, and had been rented to the client's employer, malfunctioned causing it to tip over. The client fell approximately 90', and injured his cervical and lumbar spine. Plaintiff contended, and was able to prove, that the manlift malfunctioned, due to the rental company's failure to properly inspect and repair the manlift in question, while making a routine service call several days prior to the accident at issue. The manlift in question was designed so as to prohibit the operator from taking the basket outside of the "safe working envelope". During discovery, Mr. Gaar and Mr. Welborn established that the alarm system failed to warn the operator, that he was operating outside of the safe working envelope and further, that the platform failed to automatically retract to within safe working limits, thus causing the manlift to tip over, and causing the client's injuries. The Gaar Law Firm proved that the service mechanic, who had visited the employer's yard just two days before the accident at issue, failed to repair and/or correct the malfunctioning emergency management system (EMS), which was responsible for keeping the personnel basket within the safe working envelope. The Gaar Law Firm was successful in obtaining a $857,500.00 lump sum award, in full and final settlement of the client's claims against the manufacturer and rental company.
Our firm's maritime and Jones act attorneys represented a gentleman who injured his back and ankle while he was working aboard a Dredge boat. In the accident, the defendants had provided our client with a defective tool. While working with the tool, it broke causing our client to break his ankle and suffer a ruptured disc. Both injuries required surgery. Our maritime and Jones Act attorneys, convinced the boat company that the tool was defective resulting in a settlement of $850,000. Our client even got his job back after the case was settled.
Lucas Colligan of the Gaar Law Firm recently secured an $800,000.00 settlement for a floorhand injured on an inland drill barge. The plaintiff injured his shoulder and ultimately his lower back necessitating a shoulder surgery and lumbar fusion surgery. The allegations of negligence against the barge owner were that the vessel was unseaworthy due to problems the barge was having with the drill slips sticking in the rotary table.
Our firm's Maritime attorneys represented a gentleman who was injured during a personnel basket transfer in rough weather. While attempting to transfer from an oil rig to the deck of a boat, our client was injured when the crane operator allowed the basket to hit the side of the boat and crash to the deck. Our Maritime attorneys convinced the boat company and the crane operator that they shared the fault for the accident and was able to get a combined settlement of $800,000 for his injured back.
Jason M. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm successfully settled a single level lumbar surgery case, with the defendants for $790,000.00. In this case, the plaintiff was injured when a dump truck, which he was using to haul dirt for a Sand and Gravel company, collapsed during an unloading procedure. As a result of the collapse, the dump trailer crashed back into the bed of the truck, jarring the plaintiff, and causing an injury to his lumbar spine. After working up the medicals, it was ultimately determined that our client would require lumbar surgery to repair his injuries. During the course of the litigation, the defendants argued that they were not responsible for the overloading, and hired a hydraulics engineer to establish that the reason for the cylinder collapse was not the overloading of the trailer. After flying to Salt Lake City, Utah to take the deposition of the hydraulics engineer, Mr. Welborn was able to establish that the expert had no basis for his opinion, and filed a Motion to Exclude his testimony at trial. Facing the fact that they would likely go to trial, without the use of an expert, the defendants were forced to pay our client $790,000.00 in settlement for his lumbar injury
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. obtained a $750,000.00 settlement for a truck driver who was injured when hit by another 18-wheeler that lost control due to slick highway conditions. In that case, our client, a professional truck driver, had lost control of his tractor trailer rig near Beaumont, Texas, causing him to jackknife and ultimately end up in the median of the Interstate. Following his accident, the plaintiff was sitting in a state police cruiser, when he was rear-ended by another tractor trailer rig who came over the same overpass, approximately one hour following his accident, and rear-ended the state police cruiser in which our client was a passenger. The interesting aspect of this case is that at the time of the second accident wherein the plaintiff was injured, there were approximately seven state trooper cruisers and over a dozen state troopers which were working the accident scene from the plaintiff's single vehicle accident, when he was rear-ended by the defendant driver. Mr. Gaar was able to prove that the defendant truck driver was traveling at an excessive rate of speed, in a truck roll over zone. As a result of the accident in question, the plaintiff underwent an anterior cervical fusion as well as lumbar fusion surgery, which ultimately were successful. The case settled on the eve of trial for $750,000.00. Following resolution of the case, our client was able to return to limited truck driving duties with a different employer.
Jason M. Welborn and the Gaar Law Firm obtained a $750,000.00 settlement following mediation for unoperated cervical and lumbar disc injuries. The client was injured when his 18 wheeler broadsided another flatbed trailer, as it attempted to cross the highway. The plaintiff sustained an injury to his neck and back, which resulted in a surgical recommendation from his treating physicians. However, the plaintiff elected not to undergo the surgical procedures prior to the time of trial. At mediation, the Gaar Law Firm was able to convince the defense attorneys that they faced substantial exposure, even without the plaintiff having undergone the surgical procedures. The $750,000.00 was a lump sum cash settlement for all damages incurred by our client.
Our firm Jones Act and Maritime attorneys represented a gentlemen who was injured when the wake from a tug boat violently hit his pleasure craft. After 3 full days of trial, the defendants waived the white flag and offered our client $750,000 to compensate him for his injuries. The accident caused our client to suffer an injury to his neck, requiring surgery. Although the defense was initially confident in their case, our experienced maritime attorneys forced their expert to admit the tug boat was operating at an unsafe speed. After this admission, the tug boat company paid $750,000 to avoid the trial verdict.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. obtained a $721,000.00 remaining policy limits settlement from the defendants for an unoperated neck or back injury.Our client was injured as a result of an 18 wheeler accident, where his vehicle was struck head on by a U-Haul vehicle. Although our client sustained substantial pain, as a result of the accident, he elected to forego any surgical procedures on his neck or back, despite the fact that they had been recommended by his treating orthopedic surgeon. Even though the plaintiff elected not to undergo the surgical procedures, Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully convinced the defense attorneys that they faced substantial exposure for the accident and injuries suffered by the plaintiff. At mediation, the mediator advised our client that he was "breathing rare air" in receiving a $721,000.00 settlement offer without having undergone a surgical procedure. In order to avoid trial, the defendants tendered their entire remaining policy limits of $721,000.00 in full and final settlement of our client's claims.
Will Schieffler obtained a $675,000 verdict following a three day trial, for injuries to a Jones Act boat captain who injured his neck, low back and shoulder in a slip and fall accident while in heavy seas. The verdict was in addition to over $200,000.00 the plaintiffs Jones Act employer had already paid for in maintenance and cure. Mr. Schieffler argued at trial the employer was negligent in refusing to allow the plaintiff vessel captain to proceed to shore in order to avoid an impending storm and rough seas. The plaintiff crew boat captain was able to safely navigate the vessel to shore even though all of the wheel house windows were lost during the late January storm. The defendants argued that the captain, with over 30 years of experience, was the "Lord and Master of his vessel" and should have made the call on his own, when he became aware of the deteriorating weather conditions.
Our firm's Maritime and Jones Act attorney's represented a tug boat captain who injured his neck and shoulder while attempting to descend a flight of stairs leading from the wheelhouse to the galley. The Captain was required to have neck surgery to repair a ruptured disc. Our Maritime and Jones Act Attorneys was able to convince the defendant that the handrail was unsafe and that there was a foreign substance on the stairs. This is yet another example of the hundreds of Jones Act seaman our firm has helped get justice.
Jason M. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $600,000.00 settlement, for a single level cervical fusion. The plaintiff was injured, when he was thrown from the back of a forklift, on the grounds of a local casino and hotel in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Mr. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm argued that the operator of the forklift, a casino employee, operated the forklift in a negligent fashion, and ultimately caused the plaintiff 's injuries. Despite the fact that Louisiana Courts have held that a single level cervical fusion has a value of $100,000.00 to $150,000.00, The Gaar Law Firm was successful in convincing the casino that they faced substantial exposure, should the matter proceed to trial. Within a few months of taking the tactical depositions of the casino employees, and establishing that the forklift operator had performed his job task negligently, The Gaar Law Firm was successful in obtaining a $600,000.00 lump sum award in full and final settlement of the plaintiff's claim. Our client has returned to work, following the very successful result for his cervical surgery, along with his $600,000.00 settlement.
Our firm's Heavy Trucking Accident and auto accident attorney's represented a 60 Hispanic man who was injured when an 18-wheeler ran a stop sign directly into the path of our client. As a result of the accident, the client injured his neck and hand. The client had severe degenerative changes in his neck due to age that were aggravated in the accident. Our firm's heavy trucking accident and auto accident attorneys convinced the defendants that the aggravation was caused by the accident and that surgery was required.
The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $575,000.00 settlement for a single level lumbar surgery resulting from an offshore crew boat collision accident. Our client was injured when two crew boat vessels, traveling in dense fog, collided off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered a herniated disc in his lumbar spine, which ultimately led to a single level lumbar fusion surgery. Despite the fact that Louisiana Courts generally award $150,000.00 for a single level lumbar fusion, the Gaar Law Firm was successful in convincing the defendants that they faced substantial exposure, should this matter proceed to trial. Just days prior to the trial, the defendants met the plaintiff's settlement offer of $575,000.00, resulting in a full and final settlement of the plaintiff's claims. Our client returned to work, and had a very successful result from his lumbar surgery, to go along with his $575,000.00 settlement.
Our firm's oil rig accident attorneys represented a gentleman who was injured when the drilling rig he was working on as a floor hand collapsed. As a result of the collapse, our client sustained an injured back that required surgery. The question in the case was whether our client's employer or the oil rig builder was at fault in causing the collapse. After extensive depositions and research, our oil rig accident attorney convince the oil rig repair company that they were at least partially responsible for the collapse. As a result they settled with our client for $540,000 to compensate him for his back injury
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. and Jason M. Welborn successfully litigated an unwitnessed, single car accident, where our client struck a cow that escaped from its enclosure and was wandering the road. At trial, The Gaar Law Firm was able to successfully overcome an argument by the defendants, that the plaintiff's spinal injuries were pre-existing, and unrelated to the accident. Despite the fact that the defendants were able to uncover evidence of a prior accident, for which the plaintiff claimed disability, The Gaar Law Firm was successful in changing the defendants' independent medical examiner's opinion, with regards to causation. After detailed cross-examination, The Gaar Law Firm successfully convinced the defendants' expert physician to change his prior opinion testimony and admit that the plaintiff's lumbar injuries were, in fact, related to her automobile accident. Following four days of testimony, the jury rendered a verdict in our client's favor, which ultimately allowed collection of $506,000.00, inclusive of court costs and judicial interest, despite the fact that the plaintiff was only awarded $3,000.00 in economic loss. The jury simply did not believe that our client, who has been unemployed since 1993, was entitled to an award of future economic loss. Nonetheless, the jury gave her a total award of $506,000.00 to compensate the plaintiff for her injuries.
Jason M. Welborn obtained a $500,000.00 tender of all policy limits for facial trauma and post traumatic stress disorder suffered by a woman in an automobile accident. In this case, our client was driving her 1972 Volkswagen in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when a box spring, loaded into the back of a truck traveling in the opposite direction, blew free and crashed through her windshield. As a result of the crash, our client received fifty (50) stitches to her face, and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In order to ensure successful litigation, Jason M. Welborn initially had to locate the owner of the mattress, who had left the scene. To do this, he went to twenty-four (24) separate furniture stores, in order to find a mattress, which matched the pattern contained on a piece of the box spring, which crashed through his client's windshield. After twenty-four (24) furniture stores, Mr. Welborn was advised that they had recently been contacted by the defendant to obtain a replacement mattress for one (1) that was lost during transport. At this point, Mr. Welborn knew that he had found the correct defendant, and proceeded to sue. Despite the fact that the plaintiff had suffered only facial trauma, and psychological damages, Jason M. Welborn was successful in convincing the defense attorneys to tender their $500,000.00 policy limits in the case. The $500,000.00 policy limits were to cover all damages suffered by the client as a result of this accident.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. was successful at trial in recovering a $458,000.00 verdict on behalf of his client. In this case, the plaintiff was injured as a result of an intersectional collision wherein his vehicle was struck broadside by a utility truck. Prior to trial, the defendants had offered the plaintiff $200,000.00 to settle his claims. Midway through the trial, defendants offered the plaintiff $300,000.00 to settle his claims. Plaintiff ultimately rejected these offers and proceeded to try his case before a jury in Lafayette Parish. The award included $84,000.00 for past medical expenses, $12,000.00 for future medical expenses, $154,000.00 for past and future pain and suffering, $23,423.00 for past loss of earnings, $165,000.00 for future loss of earning capacity and $20,000.00 for loss of enjoyment of life. The principal arguments in the case were directed to our client's loss of future earning capacity claims. At the time of the accident in question, the plaintiff was a real estate appraiser whose primary source of income was internet real estate appraisals, which he would obtain through use of his computer at home. Defendants argued that the plaintiff did not and should not have had any future loss of earning capacity. Through documental earnings loss for each proceeding year, from date of accident through trial, Mr. Gaar was successful in convincing the jury that his client would ultimately sustain future loss of earning capacity. With judicial interest and court costs, the plaintiff's total verdict was in excess of $515,000.00
Jason M. Welborn successfully settled a single level lumbar fusion in a minimal impact collision for $450,000.00. In this case, the plaintiff was an owner/operator truck driver, who was parked at a truck stop and was sleeping in her cab. While she was sleeping, a second 18 wheeler rolled into the front of her vehicle, knocking her from her bunk. As a result of the fall, our client injured her lumbar spine, and ultimately required lumbar surgery. Due to the fact that this accident happened in Wildwood, Florida, the matter had to be litigated in Central Florida. Despite the fact that the venue was very favorable to the defendants, Mr. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm were successful in pressuring the defendants to pay $450,000.00 for the plaintiff's injuries. The defendants relied on a report issued by their independent medical examiner, claiming that our client's injuries were pre-existing. However, on detailed cross examination, the defendant's doctor changed his opinion, and agreed that the plaintiff's injuries were likely a result of the parking lot vehicle accident. As a result, the defendants were forced to pay our client $450,000.00, in full and final settlement of her case.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr., and The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $425,000.00 settlement, following mediation for a single level cervical fusion, with a ten month gap in treatment. Prior to retaining Mr. Gaar, the plaintiff had been represented by another attorney out of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her previous attorney settled part of her case for $25,000.00, of which the plaintiff received nothing. Following the settlement of the target defendant, the plaintiff felt that her interests were not being protected, and sought representation from The Gaar Law Firm. During the course of the litigation, it became known that the plaintiff did not see a doctor for approximately ten months following the accident. Nonetheless, Mr. Gaar was successful in convincing the defense attorney that despite the gap in treatment, they faced substantial exposure under the uninsured motorist coverage of the plaintiff's employer's commercial auto policy, should the matter go to trial. Because the defendant driver was under insured for the amount of damages suffered by our client, the Gaar Law Firm had to pursue the UM carrier of the plaintiff's employer. Through multiple motions, and appeals to the Louisiana Third Circuit, The Gaar Law Firm was able to establish uninsured motorist coverage against the plaintiff's employer. Specifically, they proved that the employer had not filed in the required waiver of UM insurance in Louisiana, and made UM available to our client, as a matter of law. After the insurance issue was settled, The Gaar Law Firm successfully convinced the defendants to pay $425,000.00, despite the ten month gap in treatment. This settlement was in addition to a full waiver of the workers compensation subrogation which increased our client's recovery by an additional $85,000.00.
The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $425,000.00 settlement for a single level lumbar fusion, despite the fact that the plaintiff was able to return to work following his surgery. The plaintiff was injured when a helicopter, in which he was a passenger, malfunctioned and was required to make an emergency "landing" in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the emergency landing, our client sustained a herniated disc in his lumbar spine, which ultimately required surgery. The plaintiff had a successful result in surgery, and was able to go to work following the resolution of his case. Despite the fact that the defendants were claiming that our client's injuries could not have resulted from the "gentle landing" in the Gulf of Mexico, the Gaar Law Firm was successful in convincing the defendants that they faced substantial exposure should the matter go to trial. After protracted settlement negotiations, a settlement was ultimately reached the day of trial, resulting in a $425,000.00 settlement in favor of our client.
The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $400,000.00 settlement, following mediation, for an un-operated lumbar disc injury. Our client was injured, when he and his wife were fishing in Fresh Water Bayou, in their 16' foot aluminum boat. While they were anchored near the shore fishing, a large crew boat, owned and operated by defendant, passed their boat at a high rate of speed. The wakes from the boat caused our client's boat to rock violently, and resulted in the husband falling and injuring his back. Approximately three months prior to this boating accident, the husband had been involved in a work place accident, where he received a prior injury to his lumbar spine, and was receiving workers' compensation benefits. Despite the fact that our client had a pre-existing condition in his lumbar spine, and that there were only three months between the work accident and boating accident, The Gaar Law Firm was successful in convincing the defendants that they faced significant exposure, if the matter proceeded to trial. After taking the matter over from another attorney, who had recommended that the husband and wife settle their case for $60,000.00, The Gaar Law Firm successfully moved the matter to Federal Court, and conducted the extensive work up, necessary to increase the value of the case. After nailing the facts down on liability, The Gaar Law Firm was successful in establishing that the boating accident aggravated his pre-existing condition, and required a surgical recommendation. Although our client elected not to undergo the surgery, The Gaar Law Firm successfully convinced the defendants that the case had a value of $400,000.00 at mediation.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. successfully convinced the defendants to pay our client $398,500.00 for facial trauma resulting from an offshore accident. The plaintiff received a broken nose, and a lacerated lip with no noticeable scars, when he was struck in the face by a large piece of metal, during refitting operations to an offshore wellhead. The plaintiff's injuries required plastic surgery to repair the laceration of the lip, and also to align his broken nose. Through discovery, it was determined that the accident occurred due to ineffective communication between an employee working an air hoist to lift out the piece of metal, and those that were directing the operations below. Liability was found on the fact that there was improper hand signaling and a lack of sufficient communication for the person operating the air hoist to stop his lift, should an emergency arise. When an emergency arose, because of the fact that a piece of metal had become caught during the lift, the employees could not advise the air hoist operator to stop the lift, which resulted in pressure being placed on the line. When the piece of metal sprung free, and contacted the plaintiff in the face, it caused his facial injuries. Our client also sustained a cervical disc herniation not requiring surgery. Despite the fact that our client required no spinal surgery, and was able to return to work, the defendants were willing to pay $398,500.00 to avoid the possibility of trial.
The Gaar Law Firm obtained a $375,000.00 settlement, following mediation for an un-operated lumbar disc injury. The plaintiff was injured, when the air boat he was driving became lodged with a second air boat owned by his employer. In trying to free the two air boats, our client was ordered by his supervisor, to use his back and legs to try and push the boats apart from each other. While pushing against the boats, our client felt a sudden pain in his back, which ultimately required medical treatment. Although one of the plaintiff's doctors recommended a lumbar fusion, our client elected not to undergo the surgery at the time of mediation. At mediation, Mr. Welborn and The Gaar Law Firm were able to convince the defense attorneys that they faced substantial exposure, even without the plaintiff undergoing the surgical procedure. The defendants paid $375,000.00, in a lump sum, for all damages incurred by our client.
Our firm's auto accident attorneys represented a gentleman who was injured when his truck was broadsided by another car. Although the client was already suffering from injuries caused by a previous accident, our firm convinced the opposing side that the accident aggravated a pre-existing ruptured disc in his lower back. After detailed medical testimony, the insurance company was unwilling to risk going to trial and paid our client $325,000 to settle the case. This one but one of thousands of auto accident victims our firm has won justice for.
Joseph F. Gaar, Jr. received a $312,500.00 settlement for a torn medial meniscus, requiring arthroscopic surgery. Initially in the case, the defense counsel advised Mr. Gaar that "they would never pay more than $50,000.00 for this case and that "their client likes to try these types of cases". However, after working the case up for nearly eighteen (18) months, Mr. Gaar was able to convince the defendant to pay $312,500.00 for an out patient arthroscopic surgery of the plaintiff's knee. In this case, Mr. Gaar was confronted by what initially seemed to be an unwitnessed slip-and-fall accident. However, through diligent discovery, Mr. Gaar uncovered barge safety reports reluctantly produced by the defendant, which indicated that the deck area in which the plaintiff fell lacked sufficient non-skid paint to prevent his accident. When confronted with the damaging evidence of their own barge inspection reports, the defendant, "reversed" its $50,000.00 position, and ultimately paid our client $312,500.00 on the morning of the trial.
Jason M. Welborn represented a New Orleans woman, who was an evacuee from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. During the evacuation, our client and her family were loaded onto a bus for transport from New Orleans, to destinations unknown. While traveling on the bus, the driver and one of the other passengers became involved in an altercation, which ultimately caused the bus to roll over onto its side. As a result of the rollover accident, the plaintiff injured her right shoulder, which required surgery. The major issue in the case was whether or not the bus driver could be held responsible for the altercation, occurring between him and the passenger. Through diligent research, Mr. Welborn discovered that the bus company was under an obligation to ensure the protection of their passengers. Mr. Welborn convinced the defense attorneys that their driver had an obligation to stop the bus, at the first sign of trouble. After convincing the defense attorneys that they faced substantial exposure, should this matter go to trial, they agreed to pay the plaintiff $300,000.00 in full and final settlement for her injuries. The plaintiff is happily living in Texas, and has no restrictions resulting from this accident.
Our firm's auto accident attorneys represented a gentleman who was injured when an 18-wheeler pulled out in front of our client causing him to leave the road to avoid the accident. As a result of the accident, our client aggravated a pre-existing neck injury. Even though the client did not want or have neck surgery, our auto accident attorneys convinced the insurance company that they were responsible for the accident and the neck injury. The defendant paid our client $300,000 to settle the claim for his injured neck.