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Paralyzed Oil Worker in Texas Awarded $44 Million Settlement

Paralyzed Oil Worker in Texas Awarded $44 Million Settlement

January 15, 2019 — A $44 million settlement has been awarded to an oil worker from Texas who was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident on the job.

The lawsuit was filed by oil worker James Burgess and his wife, Kay Sharon Burgess, against 5 companies: Dialight, National Oilwell Varco, Clark Electrical Contractors, Cabot Petroleum North Sea Ltd., and Patterson Drilling Services.

In December 2012, Burgess was working on a drilling rig owned by Patterson Drilling Services when a 4-foot LED light fell over 100 feet onto his head, causing a spinal injury that left him quadriplegic.

The Burgesses accused Clark Electrical Contractors of failing to install lights with proper safety sables. They also accused Patterson of failing to perform inspections to ensure the lights were secured to the rig.

About 90 minutes before the accident, an electrician who installed the lights noticed that another light was dangling from its power cord, according to the lawsuit. The light was removed, but no one checked the remaining lights to see if they were attached by safety cables.

The lawsuit also accused Dialight, the manufacturer of the light, of advertising the light for use by the oil and gas industry when it lacked anchors that would allow it to be attached safely to a drilling rig.

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