Spohrer Dodd Helps Plane Crash Survivor Recover a Just Settlement from the Air Force

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — After 10 years of tenacious representation, Marcos Rodriguez – a civilian aviation mechanic working as a military contractor for the U.S Air Force (USAF) – received a settlement authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force for life-changing injuries he sustained in an airplane crash in 2009.

Rodriguez was aboard a USAF Dash-8 aircraft in West Africa when it crashed near Timbuktu after exhausting its fuel. While the flight was stopped in Mauritania, Rodriguez advised the pilots to buy additional fuel. However, Rodriguez’s warnings were ignored.

Having survived the plane crash with paralyzing injuries, Rodriguez retained Jacksonville aviation accident attorneys from Spohrer Dodd, and New Mexico Attorney Jim Gilman to file a claim under the Military Claims Act (MCA) for his injuries. Under the MCA, persons who suffer injuries as a result of the military’s negligence can receive compensation for said injuries.

Rodriguez’s claim under the MCA was denied in 2012 on the basis that he already received benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). Under the DBA, government contractors can receive compensation for injuries they suffer overseas – similar to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If the injured party later recovers payment from the negligent party in connection with an obligation to pay damages, the injured party is liable to reimburse the DBA insurer for the initial benefits payout.

After Rodriguez filed an appeal regarding the MCA claim denial, the Air Force informed him that the DBA insurer must fully waive it’s right to seek reimbursement from Rodriguez before his MCA appeal can proceed. As a result, Rodriguez filed a civil action for a declaratory judgment against the DBA insurer in a federal court in New Mexico. Rodriguez asked the court to hold that the DBA insurer had no reimbursement right in this case because payments under the MCA were not connected to an obligation to pay damages. Instead, the military pays MCA claims voluntarily. The federal court ultimately ruled in Rodriguez’s favor.

Since Rodriguez’s appeal in 2013, he aggressively pursued his MCA claim with the Air Force. In late 2018, the Secretary of the Air Force agreed to pay Rodriguez in principle. In early 2019, Rodriguez received payment from the Air Force for the injuries he first suffered a decade earlier.

Since the 2009 plane crash, Rodriguez earned a Masters in Graphic Information Technology and two other college degrees. Rodriguez now works for a nationally syndicated television program and used his DBA and MCA proceeds to purchase his first home.

Spohrer Dodd is dedicated to assisting people like Marcos Rodriguez in their efforts to recover compensation for injuries they suffer as a result of medical malpractice, motor vehicle negligence, aviation accidents, and other causes. To learn more about Spohrer Dodd’s legal practice, please visit www.sdlitigation.com.

SOURCE Spohrer Dodd

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