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Jones Act & Offshore Injury Update – 7.13.07

By Jul 13, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

Jones Act Injury Lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP monitor developments in the offshore drilling and maritime industries, to better serve injured seamen and offshore workers. This month, we discuss the mega-merger between Ensco plc and Atwood Oceanics, Inc. Jones Act/Offshore Giant Ensco to Merge With Atwood On May 30, 2017, offshore drillers Ensco plc and Atwood Oceanics, Inc. announced they would be merging as part of an all-stock transaction. The merger contract provides that Atwood shareholders will receive 1.60 shares of Ensco for each share of Atwood common stock. That means the shareholders receive for a total value of $10.72 per Atwood share based on Ensco’s May 26, 2017 share price, a 33% premium over Atwood’s price. Ensco expects to receive yearly pretax expense benefits of approximately $65 million beginning in 2019. Ensco CEO Carl Trowlell commented that “By bringing together our high-specification rig fleets, technology and innovation, and talented rig crews, we plan to continue delivering high levels of operational and safety performance to an even larger group of clients. We will remain one of our industry’s best capitalized companies. Our combined financial strength, diverse customer base and larger scale should lead to greater strategic and competitive advantages as well as cost efficiencies, allowing for opportunistic investments through the market cycle.: He also stated that “The combination of Ensco and Atwood will strengthen our position as the leader in offshore drilling across a wide range of water depths around the world – creating a broad platform that we […]

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Train Accidents on the Horizon?

By Jul 10, 2017 Posted in Personal Injury

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will.  The most deadly train-related catastrophe to ever occur took place nearly a century ago on July 9, 1918—the Great Train Wreck of 1918.  Two locomotives, one from Nashville, Tennessee and another from Memphis, Tennessee collided head-on.  Among the twisted metal were the bodies of one hundred and one passengers. Nearly 100 years later, train accidents are still happening.  About a year ago, two trains collided with one in the Texas panhandle.  Three crewmembers died in the accident—an engineer for one train and the conductors for both trains.  The sole survivor of the accident survived by jumping from the train, but he sustained serious injuries. Industry Changes May Affect a Town Near You There is a notable change taking place in regards to the freight moving though the United States.  Trains are becoming much longer.  These longer train lengths have raised safety concerns “by the labor unions that represent the engineers, conductors and other rail workers who toil on, in and around the steel behemoths.” Safety Concerns With some trains as long as three miles, motorists, at a minimum, can expect traffic to be stopped for more than 10 minutes.  The impact of longer trains has a far-reaching impact on the safety and welfare of others.  At the very least, longer trains could prevent emergency vehicles and police from responding to life or death situations.  At the worst, longer trains could result in crashes, injury, and death due to the […]

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Who is at Fault When Road Construction Causes an Accident?

By Jun 30, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

With roads and highways throughout the Houston area in a perpetual state of development and repair, driving through construction zones is an everyday occurrence for many local residents. While cones and road signs caution drivers to move over and slow down, many people still choose to drive recklessly in areas congested by construction, and truck drivers are no exception. But, negligent driving is not the only issue that can lead to accidents in construction zones. In fact, there are numerous other factors that can cause dangerous accidents as well. So, how do you know who to blame if you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident in a construction zone? It depends on the specific facts and circumstances involved. Proving Liability for Truck Accidents in Construction Zones 1. The Trucking Company Despite the numerous factors that can cause accidents in construction zones, when a commercial truck is involved, one of the first issues to examine continues to be truck driver negligence. From driving drunk to texting and falling asleep behind the wheel, there is an almost-endless list of truck driving errors that can lead to serious and fatal accidents. When truck drivers are to blame for injurious collisions, the trucking companies that employ them will usually hold financial responsibility. In many – if not most – accident cases involving 18-wheelers and tractor trailers, the trucking company will share at least partial liability for the victims’ losses. 2. The Road or Highway Authority If an issue with […]

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Traumatic Brain Injuries and Commercial Truck Accidents

By Jun 28, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

While commercial truck accidents account for a relatively small portion of motor vehicle collisions, they are responsible for a disproportionately-high number of serious and fatal injuries. This includes traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which are among the leading accident-related causes of disabilities and fatalities in the United States. Although certain types of TBI can be characterized as “mild,” the reality is that there is no such thing as a minor brain injury. The ongoing research on the long-term effects of concussions is just one source of evidence that all traumatic brain injuries need to be taken extremely seriously. In the context of a commercial truck accident, this means seeking prompt medical attention and consulting an attorney about your legal rights. TBI from 18-Wheeler and Tractor Trailer Crashes The following are among the most common types of traumatic brain injuries resulting from passenger vehicle and motorcycle collisions with commercial trucks: Concussions A concussion is a form of TBI that can result from either a direct blow to the head or the violent shaking that is common in high-impact vehicle collisions. Concussions may or may not cause loss of consciousness, and severe concussions can have complications – including disruption of oxygen flow to the brain – that can lead to permanent damage. Contusions A contusion is a bruise that results from a direct impact to the head. Bruises are the result of bleeding beneath the tissue in the body; and, when blood builds up in the brain, surgical removal may be necessary. Coup-Contrecoup […]

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Could a Truck Defect Be to Blame for Your 18-Wheeler Accident?

By Jun 26, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

While truck driver negligence is a leading cause of 18-wheeler accidents, it is by no means the only factor to consider when seeking compensation for accident-related injuries. There are a variety of other factors that can cause dangerous truck accidents as well, including truck and trailer defects. When a defect causes an accident, the manufacturer, dealership and certain other companies can all face “strict liability” for the victims’ losses. This means that proof of negligence is not required. The following are all common examples of defects that can lead to serious accidents and entitle victims to just compensation: Brake, wheel and tire defects Chassis defects Defective cargo straps and other cargo-securing equipment Defective aerodynamic components Electrical system defects Emergency system defects Engine and transmission defects Lighting defects (including faulty brake lights) When seeking to prove that a truck or trailer component was defective, it is important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible. Evidence at the scene may help prove that a defect was to blame, or a lack of other causes may suggest a need to look further into the possibility of a truck defect. In either case, securing evidence at the scene is critical, and your attorneys may need to take action quickly in order to prevent other evidence of the defect from being destroyed. When is a Truck Component Considered “Defective”? In order to be considered “defective,” a truck component must (i) be in a condition not contemplated by the user, and (ii) create an unreasonable […]

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Cruise Workers’ Rights to Compensation for Offshore Injuries

By Jun 23, 2017 Posted in Offshore Injury

For cruise ship employees, every day on the water presents another potential risk for job-related injuries. Even among the most highly-rated cruise lines, safety violations and dangerous conditions onboard are commonplace, and passengers and crewmembers often face far greater risks than any of us would like to believe. If you were injured while working onboard a cruise ship, you are not alone. Numerous cruise workers are injured at sea every year, in incidents ranging from slip-and-fall accidents to physical and sexual assaults. Fortunately, in the United States there are federal and maritime laws that are specifically designed to protect individuals who work offshore, and these laws provide the opportunity to recover financial compensation for workers’ medical bills, living expenses and other losses. Your Rights as an Injured Cruise Worker: The Jones Act The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (commonly known as the “Jones Act”) remains one of the most important legal tools available to injured offshore workers. If you work onboard a cruise ship in the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or any other navigable water, you most likely qualify for protection under the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides injured cruise workers with two ways to seek financial compensation: A claim for “maintenance and cure” – Maintenance and cure are limited benefits that offshore workers must pay regardless of fault. These benefits cover injured workers’ medical expenses and a portion of their daily living expenses while they are unable to work. A claim for Jones Act negligence – While […]

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Autonomous Trucks: Coming Soon to a Road Near You?

By Jun 21, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

With more major technology and transportation companies making strides toward road-ready autonomous trucks, we are watching a new industry develop before our eyes. State and federal regulators are doing their best to keep pace, but some companies have already expressed concern that their fleets will be ready to launch before lawmakers have done their part to put self-driving vehicles on America’s roads. So, are autonomous trucks coming soon to a road near you? Here are the latest updates from the companies and authorities involved: Latest Updates on the Launch of Autonomous Trucks Late last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation released the first federal policy on autonomous trucks. Entitled, Accelerating the Next Revolution in Roadway Safety, the policy establishes vehicle performance standards for self-driving vehicles and provides a model policy for states to follow. State legislatures around the country have been proposing legislation to govern autonomous vehicles since 2012, with a record 33 states introducing legislation so far in 2017. Eighteen states, including Texas, have already passed laws relating specifically to autonomous vehicle technology, and governors in four states have issued executive orders focused on self-driving vehicle safety. Topics addressed in the state laws passed to date include: Commercial autonomous vehicles Cybersecurity and data privacy Insurance and liability Licensing and regulation Operation on public roads Vehicle inspection and testing requirements Technology and transportation companies like Tesla, Uber and Volvo are working in parallel to develop autonomous trucks that will be safer than those piloted by human drivers. Google is among […]

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Morrow & Sheppard LLP Attorneys Win Federal Appeal on Behalf of Injured Offshore Worker

By Jun 19, 2017 Posted in Maritime Injuries

We are pleased to announce that the maritime injury attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP recently won a significant appellate case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. While the federal district court dismissed our client’s claims without a trial, the appellate judges on the Fifth Circuit unanimously agreed that the trial court’s decision relied on numerous mistakes of law. As a result, our client will be entitled to move forward with his claim and seek just compensation for the injuries he sustained while working offshore. Dangerous Hydraulic Tank Plug and Rope Swing Cause Severe Injuries The key facts of the case, as alleged in our client’s complaint and recited by the Fifth Circuit, are as follows: On May 27, 2015, our client was working as a mechanic’s helper on a fixed offshore platform owned by Energy XXI GOM, L.L.C. (“Energy XXI”) and operated by Wood Group USA, Incorporated (“Wood Group”). Although our client had experience working on other platforms, he was new to the type of platform crane involved in the accident. In order to drain the crane tank as part of his duties, our client was required to access a workspace below the tank through a grating panel. After our client finished draining the tank, the grating panel fell, hitting his shoulder and foot and causing serious injuries. In order to leave the platform, our client was required to use a swing rope transfer rather than a safer basket transfer, and this exacerbated his foot […]

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What Factors Should You Consider Before Settling an Accident Claim?

By May 31, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

If you receive an offer to settle your accident claim, should you accept it, or should you fight for more? This is a critical question for anyone who has been seriously injured as a result of a product defect or someone else’s negligence. Making the right decision can mean the difference between maximizing your compensation and paying for someone else’s mistake for years to come, and it requires a thorough understanding of the facts and law at hand. If you are dealing with the insurance companies after an accident, you need to avoid settling too soon. But, you also need to know when a settlement offer is fair in light of the legal issues involved in your case. Before you accept or reject any insurance settlement offer, here are five important considerations to keep in mind: 1. What constitutes “just compensation” in your case? Do you know the full extent of your losses? In a typical car or truck accident case involving serious injury, the victim’s future losses will far exceed any outstanding medical bills, vehicle repair costs and lost wages. In order to evaluate a settlement offer, you need to have a clear picture of not only what you have lost, but what you stand to lose in the future. 2. Is there more money on the table? While an insurance company’s first offer will rarely be its best, in many cases there will come a point at which there simply is not any more money to be had. […]

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Offshore Wrongful Death Claims

By May 29, 2017 Posted in Offshore Injury

If you recently lost a spouse or other close family member in an offshore accident, as you try to cope with your loss, it is important not to overlook the importance of asserting your legal rights. We understand the last thing you want is to get caught up in a legal battle, and we know the maritime laws that apply to offshore accidents are complicated, but we also know how critically important it is that you receive just compensation for your financial and emotional losses. We also know that the reality of pursuing an offshore wrongful death claim is far different from most people’s perceptions. With the right legal representation, understanding your rights does not have to be complicated, and you should not have to prepare yourself to face constant stress while your case is pending. An experienced offshore injury lawyer should be able to keep you feeling confident and informed every step of the way, and you should be able to trust that he or she is doing everything necessary to maximize your financial recovery. Why File a Claim for Wrongful Death? With all of that said, you may still be wondering: Is it worth it to file a claim for wrongful death? We can tell you from experience that the answer is a resounding yes. As much pain as you are feeling now, your family member’s loss will touch your life in ways you could not have previously imagined. To make sure you have the financial resources you […]

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