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Marine Electrician Recovers $740,000 Jones Act Verdict After Fall From Ladder

A marine electrician has recovered $740,000 in compensation under the Jones Act after falling from a ladder aboard ship. A Seattle, Washington jury returned a verdict after hearing evidence of the seaman's injuries. The crewman suffered a complex fracture to his jaw and post concussion syndrome. At the time of trial, the crewman had resumed his duties aboard ship but continued to complain of occasional migraine headaches.

The crewman was injured while working alone connecting electrical cords to a refrigerated container. He fell from an extension ladder. The crewman argued that reasonable safety practice required two men to do the job and that time constraints prohibited tying off the ladder. The employer was forced to admit negligence and no comparative fault on the eve of trial, when an accident report involving a similar injury was discovered. The corrective action report from the prior injury recommended that two crewmen always be assigned to jobs involving extension ladders, and that refrigerated containers not be plugged in when longshoremen were doing lashing work. If these recommendations had been implemented, the injury would not have occurred.

The verdict for the crewman included an award of $558,550 for past and future pain and suffering, future medical bills, and lost wages. The crewman was awarded $180,585 in prejudgment interest.

Jim Jacobsen and Joe Stacey of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, represented the injured seaman. The case is Leach v. Horizon Lines, LLC.

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