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.
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.
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.
Brian is a 31 year-old LIRR electrician. Or at least he was until a portion of his ring finger on his right hand was severed in an on-the-job accident. He sued the railroad and after less than three days of trial, a jury awarded him almost $2 million for his injury and wage loss.
Last month, Joe*, a signal foreman with Amtrak, received almost $3 million from a jury verdict in his lawsuit against Amtrak after he was hit by a LIRR train on a jobsite.
Joe was supervising the installation of trough along the right-of -way of the busiest interlocking in the U.S. at 3:30 in the morning when he was hit by a train he never saw coming.
The jobsite, located east of the East River in New York was inside a ditch six feet from the center line of a live adjacent track. Joe didn’t know it, but at the moment he turned to step out of the ditch, an LIRR train was approaching at 30 mph. Because the watchman never blew his horn, Joe stepped up out of the ditch and into the side of the train.
The impact left him with a mild traumatic brain injury and a spinal injury requiring fusions. It also ended his career as a signal foreman with the railroad. He had 15 years to go to retirement.
In my last blog about the everyday dangers railroad workers face on the job, I shared nine photos of on-the-job hazards that led to injuries for my clients. Unfortunately for employees, it wasn't hard to dig up a bunch more.
Each of these photos represents a failure by the railroad to ensure a safe work environment for its workers. That's eight instances where a carrier negligence violated FELA, the law that protects rail workers.
See if you can spot the safety hazards in each of these pictures. I bet you encountered some of them on your last shift.
Next to “How much is my case worth?” questions about the timing and duration of lawsuits are the ones I hear most often from railroad workers.
Timing is critical to lawsuits. If they’re going to protect their rights, workers need to know the window in which they have to report an injury, file an FELA suit or file a whistleblower claim.
This blog will answer those questions along with tougher, more, it-depends-on-your-situation queries like, “When will I get paid?” and “How long will my trial last?”
Read on for 10 answers to the most often asked timing-related questions about FELA injury and whistleblower claims.
If you've been hurt, you already know what money you're out of pocket.
You know those bills you couldn't pay. You probably know how to put together a wage loss claim for past wages. (If not, here is a link to a wage loss calculator that takes the work out of coming up with your wage loss. It even allows you to include lost overtime.)
But if your injury is going to keep you out of work into the future, and you either want to settle your case now, or you’ll never return to work, then you have something called future wage loss. Figuring out how much you will lose in the future can be a little more speculative, but if you take the right factors into consideration, you can have a solid basis to make a claim for the money that you’ll lose down the road.
In this blog I’ll explain how to calculate future wage loss with an example from a recent trial that I brought to verdict.
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.