Crane Boom Drops on Hand
Darren was a tug deckhand for Ross Island Sand & Gravel in Portland, Oregon. Darren had worked on Oregon rivers all his life. In fact, his dad and grandfather before him worked on the Willamette River moving logs to the mills. Rick owned his own little tug when he was just 20 years old. Darren's entire work life was focused on the river.The Incident
Ross Island had a device near shore to move barges forward to load gravel. Basically, this device is an "endless cable" which runs between two pulleys fastened to two sets of pilings, like a clothesline. In February, 2003, Darren had to climb up into a dolphin (a group of pilings) to fix a pulley. A crane was called in to help in the project. Unfortunately, the crane operator dropped the crane boom onto Darren's hand. The impact nearly took off Darren's thumb.Insurance Company Response
Ross Island and its insurance company decided on a strategy to minimize Darren's claim of lost future income. The insurance company, with the agreement of Ross Island, offered Darren a job in the warehouse at the same pay. This was a little odd since no other workers in the warehouse got the same pay as a deckhand. What was the insurance company trying to do? Clearly, the insurance company had a plan to try to minimize the lost income claim. If Darren was working at time of trial—at the same pay—then the insurance company could argue that Darren had no future wage loss, which was a big part of the case. But, would the company guarantee Darren's job? Would the insurance company agree that if Darren could not work at the cement plant and got fired, would they then pay lost income? Absolutely no to both questions.
The insurance company refused to offer any amount of money to settle Darren's case. We had to go to trial to argue that Darren's future income was so uncertain that the jury should award him a good deal of money for future lost income. Our future wage loss argument hinged upon Coast Guard license renewal requirements. In order for Darren to work on the river, he needed a Coast Guard license. Renewals were required every five years. Serious orthopedic injuries could keep the license from being renewed.The Result
We hired experts in the field of Coast Guard licenses. We had our expert meet with Darren and actually watch him perform all sorts of physical maneuvers. Our experts were absolutely convinced that Darren could not safely perform his duties with his injured hand. But, the problem remained. Darren was still working for the same company and their testimony was that he had a job with them with the same pay for as long as he was able to come to work. We were able to convince the jury that a man should not be required to take a warehouse job if his life-long ambition was to work at sea. We were then able to convince the jury that the employer had to pay the lost income for Darren having to be retrained at a lesser paying job. Finally, we were able to convince the jury that Darren would not likely be able to renew his Coast Guard license and that he would lose future job opportunities as a result.
The jury returned a verdict of over $2.24 million.
Many states have established guidelines that prohibit an attorney from communicating past successes or financial results obtained if that communication is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve. We support those guidelines because no two death or personal injury cases are identical and because past success is not a guarantee of future success. While no law firm involved in handling difficult cases gets a successful result every time, over the years the lawyers at Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC have successfully handled many diverse cases in many different courts. The verdicts and settlements included on this page are for informational use only. Nothing on this page should be construed as a guarantee of results. The results in any case relate to the particular facts and circumstances of the particular legal situation. Results can vary widely given similar facts and circumstances.