PHI in the early 1980s - Pg 1 More mishaps and mahem.
After my wreck in 1978, I was left with a stiff right knee and started walking with a cane, but was able to continue flying. In 1981 I was living in a travel trailer, behind a store near the Morgan City heliport, during my 7 days on duty. I had complained to the property owner about a mudhole in front of my trailer and asked for a load of shells (used for gravel in that area). Instead I go a sheet of plywood in front of my door. One morning I came out in the rain and, when I stepped down onto the plywood, I slipped with my bad knee under me. Since it could not bend, it shattered my lower femur and I fell screaming. The guy next door came out, got me into my car and drove me to the hospital in Morgan City. PHI said they'd fly me where ever I wanted to go to the hospital for surgery in their Learjet. I wanted to go to Jackson, MS to Dr. Caden, who had attended my breaks after my auto accident, but the weather was terrible and I was told my shattered femur was resting on my femoral artery and, if it severed, I'd lose the leg or worse. I agreed to let the doctor at Morgan City do the surgery on my leg. I ended up with a worse knee and the leg 3/4" shorter.
I talked to the property owner about filing a claim on his insurance and, I never knew if out of ignorance or malice, he gave me the name of his homeowners and not his business insurance. They stonewalled and refused to offer me anything or tell me anything. Then after I had hired a lawyer, they said they did not have the insurance on the business property. I had to start all over with the right insurance company but was already signed with the lawyers. This company also chose to stonewall until the lawyers had hired several expert witnesses and hired a doctor to testify. Then the day court convened, they offered $100,000. I would have been overjoyed with that offer a month or so earlier but now the lawyers said they'd first pay for all the expert witnesses, then they'd take their 40%. I figured I'd be left with a pittance and decided to take my chances in court. That turned out to be a mistake. The lawyers put on quite a case for me, proving with expert testimony that wet plywood was unsafe, and that it had caused my fall but to that Cajun jury I was a rich chopper pilot and a Yankee from way up north in Mississippi, sueing a poor old Cajun storekeeper. I didn't know, before that, you couldn't mention, in court, that any money would come from the rich insurance company who failed to pay a just claim and not from the storekeeper. The jury came back with a verdict of "No hazard and no liability". I went home crippled and broke.
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