Sea Captain Injured at Work Outside the Scope of His Employment
Aside from personal injury, there are many specialized areas of injury litigation that a case may fall under. Recently, we were honored to represent a sea captain who was injured at work in a construction site accident. Why was a sea captain working in a construction site instead of piloting a boat? We were wondering the same thing, and found that his employer required him to help with a dock building project that was well outside the scope of his job.
While building the dock, the captain was struck in the leg by a crane load of debris. The accident required the captain undergo several knee surgeries which kept him out of work for quite some time. He immediately sought help from a maritime lawyer (a lawyer who specializes in maritime law and water-based accidents).
A Maritime Lawyer Could Not Bring a Substantial Case
The captain’s maritime lawyer reviewed his accident and told him that he only had a right to seek “maintenance and cure”. This term refers to basic medical expenses and partial salary reimbursement for the time a maritime worker is unable to do his or her job. The lawyer actually told the captain that he did not have a case against his employer, even though the employer forced him to perform hazardous work outside of his job duties.
When we discussed the situation with the captain we explained that his employer endangered him by assigning hazardous tasks beyond his training and job expectations. We believe what happened to the captain is abuse.
The captain agreed with our assessment and asked Buttafuoco & Associates to represent him in a full personal injury lawsuit. We sat through two weeks of deliberation before a full jury resulted in a nearly unanimous agreement that our client’s claims were valid and his employer owed him compensation for damages. Of the 24 questions posed to the jury regarding their opinion on the case, they agreed on 23 points. Most importantly, they agreed that an employer had no business forcing a sea captain to perform construction work on a dock.
The jury agreed that our client was, in this scenario, a “construction worker” and therefore had a right to bring a lawsuit against his employer for an injury sustained on the job. This allowed us to obtain a $2,000,000 settlement for his injuries, damages, and suffering.
It goes to show you that one lawyer telling you that you do not have a case should not be the end of your claim. Always seek a second opinion – quite often you will be pleasantly surprised, especially if you seek help from a dedicated firm like Buttafuoco & Associates who refuse to throw in the towel when we know our clients have a case.
Our client was overjoyed with his settlement and was able to celebrate it with his newborn child. To this day there is a photo of our client’s newborn child covered in one hundred dollar bills in the waiting room of our office. This photo was a simple gesture from the captain that said, “you changed our lives.”