A native of Puerto Rico was recently awarded a record $7.5 million settlement in a back and neck injury lawsuit following the sudden explosion of an air tank aboard a marine vessel that was docked for repairs. Plaintiff Edward Perez-Mossetty was seriously injured in the explosion. The then-37-year-old was affecting repairs aboard the vessel on behalf of defendants American Tugs Inc. The plaintiff was in the engine room that also housed an aging air tank that was exhibiting signs of thinning and pitting.
According to court records in the back injury compensation claim, the tank had been installed without a working pressure relief valve and was normally operated in an automated fashion, with the air compressor automatically shutting down when the desired pressure within the tank was reached. However, on the day of the accident, employees had been operating the compressor in manual mode as the compressor had been shutting off too soon. The pressure within the tank had built up to a level that the pitted walls of the tank could not withstand. The ensuing explosion caused Perez-Mossetty to be thrown into the air. He landed on his neck and sustained serious back and neck injuries from which, in spite of surgical intervention and months of rehabilitative treatment, he has failed to fully recover.
Perez-Mossetty suffered a serious neck injury when he landed after being thrown into the air from the explosion. The plaintiff suffered partial paralysis and serious motor and sensory impairments. He requires assistance to walk and to maintain daily activities. Perez-Mossetty also remains in constant pain and will require assistive devices and ongoing medical care and treatment going forward for as long as he remains alive. He can no longer work.
Despite the claim of a record award, this blog reported back in October 2013 of an award of $9.6 mil http://blog.ligmarine.com/2013/10/is-96-mil-record-award.html so whilst this may not be “THE” record, it certainly worth notice and serves to reinforce that $1mil of P&I/crew coverage is just not enough today (see http://ligblog.ligmarine.com/2014/06/are-current-pi-limits-enough/ )