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Case Results

People just like you make up the clientele we serve. From deckhands to galley hands, housewives to husbands, welders to blasters and painters, ordinary people from all walks of life have sought our help. We are committed to the basic principles of honesty, integrity and hard work, and we also see our clients as friends who are not forgotten when a case is resolved. Presented below are a few of the many types of cases we have handled over the years. You can see from these case spotlights the divergence of the clients themselves and the variety of ways injury and disability strike the unfortunate.


Maritime / Admiralty

A floor hand on an inland drilling barge suffered facial fractures and brain damage when a joint of casing struck him across the face. Finding liability under the Jones Act and pursuant to the maritime doctrine of unseaworthiness, the trial court awarded damages fully compensating the worker for these disabling injuries. Kopfler defeated the barge owner’s efforts to limit its liability to the value of the vessel, opening the way for the severely injured worker to receive fair and just compensation.


Maritime / Admiralty

A diesel mechanic sent offshore to repair a winch on a tugboat was attempting to make a swing rope transfer to a crew boat after finishing his work and injured his back and neck when he slammed into the bulwarks on the first attempt. A tricky task when going from a stationary platform to a vessel, a swing rope transfer is made ever more hazardous when attempted from one vessel to another. The mechanic had never performed such a transfer before and an alternative, safer means of transfer existed but was not employed because of time constraints inherent in the oil field. Expert evidence provided the backdrop for the obvious danger involved in such a transfer, and Kopfler Personal Injury Attorneys defeated defense efforts aimed at placing fault on the mechanic.


Maritime / Admiralty

A bosen’s mate operating a thinner recovery unit on an offshore oil and gas semi-submersible drilling rig suffered painful burns when the thinner recovery unit burst open and splashed him with the hot chemical. A thorough review of the maintenance records from the thinner recovery unit showed that this very problem had occurred only a month before but that no one had communicated the fact of the previous occurrence to the mate or anyone else on the rig. We were able to prove that the latches that were supposed to secure the lid of the thinner recovery unit could easily dislodge under high pressure and cause the contents and steam to shoot out from the rim.


Maritime / Admiralty

A mate trying to secure a line to a derrick barge to hold it in rough seas sustained traumatic aggravation of a fatty lymphoma, tethering his spinal cord, necessitating spinal surgery. It took the testimony of the chief of neurosurgery at a leading educational institution to make the crucial diagnosis of injury. The mate attained full compensation in the face of defense doctors who claimed the mate was not injured.


Maritime / Admiralty

A deckhand on a sulphur barge ruptured a disc in his low back while lifting a transfer hose. Lifting cases are particularly difficult because they require proof in a scientific context of the degree of force placed on the human back by a particular weight and lifting technique. One of the leading professors in human biomechanics assisted Kopfler & Hermann in presenting evidence that showed conclusively that the sulphur hose was too heavy for a deckhand to lift without a jib crane or other lifting device. The case resolved successfully before trial.


Maritime / Admiralty, Premises Liability

A crew boat captain returning from shore fell between the dock and the adjacent boat because of defects in the dock, causing a spinal injury resulting in major surgery. The case is in litigation in south Louisiana.


Maritime / Admiralty

A deckhand attempting to transfer from his tugboat to a cargo barge sustained a disabling knee injury when he was flung across the bulwarks by high seas during the transfer maneuver. By proving that the transfer maneuver was difficult, even in calm seas, and that the captain on duty had infrequently performed the task in the past, our firm attained full compensation for the disabled deckhand after trial.


Maritime / Admiralty

A shrimp trawler and his mate, a shrimp picker, were injured when a tugboat pushing a barge overtook their stern at night and nearly swamped their vessel in Bayou Grand Caillou near Dulac, Louisiana. We were able to prove that the tug boat was traveling at a high rate of speed and either ignored its radar readings or its radar beam was deflected by cargo on the barge it was pushing. The trial judge awarded damages to the shrimper and his mate but reduced the award to the shrimp boat captain because the Judge found that the shrimp boat did not have adequate lighting.