A North Dakota jury set a record with its $9 million verdict in favor of an injured oil field worker. The verdict allegedly represents the largest single plaintiff verdict for an oil worker in North Dakota history.
The man was a relief operator of an oil rig in October 2011. He was asked to help with the oil rig’s “elevators” which lift the long pieces of pipe, when a pipe slipped through the elevator and fell approximately 20 feet, striking the man. The man was taken to the hospital via helicopter. At the hospital he underwent a facial reconstruction surgery that lasted over six hours. The plaintiff was also treated for a traumatic brain injury. He will suffer lifelong cognitive and communication impairment as a result of the injury to his brain.
The jury was asked to assign percentage of responsibility to various parties in the case. The jury’s verdict found the company that provided the pipes was 70% at fault for the incident, the company that owned the oil rig was 15% responsible for the incident, the plaintiff’s employer was 10% at fault, and the plaintiff was found to be 5% responsible for the incident. The trial lasted almost three weeks, but the jury deliberated for less than one day to render their verdict.