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As seen in Virginia Lawyers Weekly!

Type of action: Personal injury – maritime

Injuries alleged: Head trauma, shattered right heel and broken left fibula

Tried before: Jury

Date resolved: 4/14/2023

Special damages: Approximately $150,000 in past medical bills; $39,000-$44-000 per year in future lost earning capacity for the duration of his work life

Offer: $250,000

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $2,000,000

Attorney for plaintiff: Georgina D. Montgomery and Adam H. Lotkin, Norfolk

Description of case: The plaintiff was a deckhand aboard a local tugboat at the time of the incident in 2020. He slipped at the top of internal stairs from the wheelhouse. The stairs were not equipped with a railing, however they did have hand-holds built into one side of a portion of the stairway. There being nothing to grab onto as he fell, the plaintiff landed approximately 14 feet at the foot of the stairs. The plaintiff argued that the standard in the industry required the stairs to be equipped with a handrail. The defense denied that a handrail was necessary under the standard of care and asserted comparative negligence.

The plaintiff sustained serious injuries in the fall including head trauma, a shattered right heel and broken left fibula. He was initially admitted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for three days. He was treated conservatively for the broken bones for approximately one year but required multiple surgeries to the right ankle/foot thereafter. A third surgery was performed in February 2023, approximately two months before trial. The plaintiff attempted to go back to work following his initial conservative treatment but was unable to carry out the required duties of his position.

After four days of trial and the completion of the plaintiff’s case in chief as well as the defense’s liability expert, the parties settled on the morning of the fifth day of trial.

Plaintiff’s counsel Georgina Montgomery provided case information.