Life didn’t have to be so hard for John. The pounding his lower back absorbed after a decade as a diesel mechanic for a commuter railroad had taken its toll. He checked himself into the hospital for a three-level spinal fusion to relieve chronic pain that had become unbearable.
The suffering was unnecessary. John’s work involved bending over a locomotive engine at an awkward angle for hours at a time, performing heavy labor. But with some equipment common in other yards, he could have pulled the hood off the locomotive to work on the engine in a more comfortable position, or removed portions to work on them externally.
Early on a cold January morning in 2016, Calvin*, a career signal inspector for NJ Transit, was performing switch cleaning after a heavy snowfall threatened to cripple the commute for many on the North Jersey Coastline. After completing the job, he hopped into the passenger seat of a company truck and buckled up for the ride to the next switch. Coming around an icy curve the driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a utility pole with enough force to break it in half.
It seemed like a straightforward claim. An on-the-job slip and fall between railroad ties that were missing 16 inches of ballast resulted in a low back injury. Five weeks of physical therapy and a prescription for anti-inflammatories and pain medication, and the employee was ready to try to work again.
You already know working for the railroad is dangerous, but it’s more than your back and joints that are at risk. Sometimes it’s your job.
That was the case for Javier*, a young welder with just a couple years in. Last winter he was doing his job for Springfield Terminal Railway Co. when a set of rail rollers under tension dropped a piece of rail striking his knee and knocking him to the ground. He knew he was hurt so he reported it right away. It wasn’t an accident he caused (even his foreman admitted the welder hadn’t done anything wrong). Nonetheless, the railroad did what it always does: it issued an investigation letter under the discipline provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (aka the contract).
Where you go to trial isn’t as simple as the court nearest to where you live. Lawsuit locations are influenced by several factors and, this might surprise you, your FELA attorney actually has a say in which court you land. And if your lawyer is strategic, that location could improve your outcome.
SCUBA, LASER and LCD are all acronyms. Acronyms are meant to help us reduce long, well known (but hard to manage) names like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to something memorable and simple, like HIPAA. (Oh yeah, that form I sign at the doctor...)
If you’re like most railroad workers, you’ve never had your deposition taken. Depositions are a key component of the legal process. This is where a lot of the surrounding facts concerning your lawsuit will be revealed.
If you get hurt in a train yard in Kentucky can a lawyer in New York represent you? He sure can. And in fact, the best lawyer for a rail worker’s injury is likely out-of-state.
When all you do for a living is sue passenger railroads like NJ Transit and freight carriers like CSX and NS, the calls start coming from clients and friends alike as soon as something like the Hoboken crash hits the news. Everyone asks me “What happened?”
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING - Prior results don’t guarantee a similar outcome in your claim. This website and blog are for informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice, since only after knowing the details of your claim can any advice be provided. Please understand that particular laws vary by state. You must speak directly with an attorney about your situation to determine what laws apply.