Monday, July 10, 2006

Legal Article: Diver hit by jet sled

Diver hit by jet sled: Negligent operation: Failure to properly diagnose and treat: Decompression illness: Fractures: Settlement
Law Reporter, Jun 2003

Errickson v. Horizon Offshore Contractors, Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. La., No. CV01-2133-"C", Nov. 4,2002.

The diver, Errickson, 36, suffered multiple fractures to his left leg while he
was helping place a jet sled on an underwater pipeline 100 feet below the surface when the sled was dropped on him.

He was raised rapidly to the surface causing him to suffer decompression illness from being raised to the surface too rapidly after the incident. No recompression treatment was provided by his employer. Errickson underwent two surgeries to repair his orthopedic injuries. He incurred medical expenses of approximately $200,000, paid by his employer.

Errickson, who had earned approximately $40,000 annually as a commercial diver, is unable to return to that work. He is now pursuing education toward an alternative career.

Errickson sued his employer under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. [sec] 688, alleging failure to properly plan and supervise the operation-which allegedly took place under unsafe sea conditions-and failure to ensure that the rigging to the sled was safe. Plaintiff also alleged defendant was vicariously liable for the hospital's failure to properly diagnose and treat his decompression illness. Following mediation, the parties reached a settlement for $1.4 million.

Plaintiff's experts were John W. Grimes, vocational rehabilitation, Lafayette, La.; G. Randolph Rice, economics, Baton Rouge, La.; and John W. Thompson Jr., neuropsychiatry, and Paul G. Harch, hyperbaric medicine, both of New Orleans, La.

Defendant's experts were Kenneth Adams, neuropsychiatry, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Kenneth Boudreaux, economics, New Orleans, La.

Plaintiffs Counsel

*Bobby J. Delise, Metairie, La.

*Alton J. Hall Jr., Metairie, La.

*R. Justin Garon, New Orleans, La.

*Scott E. Silbert, New Orleans, La.

Delise has attended the UHMS course on Medical Fitness to Dive and now gives lectures to the course as part of the curriculum.