How do I calculate the value of my case? How much is my back injury worth? How much can I get for my knee injury?
They're all valid questions I get from railroad workers who get hurt on the job. Unfortunately there isn't one answer. Every injury, every worker, every situation is different. From the severity of your injury to your degree of fault, there are a thousand of variables that will impact the value of your case.
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.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, reversed the ARB decision, which protected a workers right to follow doctors's orders. This was one of the 13 ways of triggering the Whistleblower protections of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). You can download the decision here.
Bala vs PATH was the 2013 decision that prevented a carrier from disciplining an employee who was following doctors orders, regardless of whether the underlying condition was work related or not.
The reversal means that in those courts within the Third Circuit, only a doctor note pertaining to an on the job injury gives protection to the employee.
Concussion at home when something falls from the garage shelf, making you dizzy? Not excused.
Stomach bug has you throwing up? Not excused.
These absences can still be counted for purposes of attendance policies. This means that workers can be disciplined for absences when they follow a doctor's order not to return to work. This will have long term ramifications as well as immediate.
Close to three years ago, John*, 34, was an assistant signalman with three years on the job with LIRR.
One morning while running innerduct under a platform, a large piece of concrete debris – a leftover from an old platform – broke off pinching his right wrist and trapping him under the platform. A coworker had to lift the concrete off his wrist. What he thought at the time was an injury he could work through and recover from, turned out to be career ending.
John reported his injury and was temporarily removed from service pending a visit to an orthopedist the next day. That began 22 months of referrals to specialists and four separate EMG studies, because John developed clawing of his ring and pinky fingers. With that also came 50% loss grip strength in his right, dominant, hand. The railroad medically disqualified him from his job 10 months later.
This month a jury ordered LIRR to pay John more than $3 million for his injury after it was revealed that the railroad knew about the old hazardous concrete but didn’t make any effort to remove it. What is remarkable about this case is how the verdict numbers break down:
Do you need a lawyer to file a FELA claim? Not necessarily. In this blog we’ll discuss specific instances when it’s better to handle the claim yourself.
I'm in the business of suing the railroad, it’s true. But I'm NOT in the business of taking money from hard-working railroad employees unnecessarily.
Frankly, there are plenty of situations where you don't need a lawyer. Either on your own or with the help of a union representative, you are completely capable of negotiating a settlement of your FELA injury claim in the following scenarios if, and this is the crux of the FELA law, you can prove the railroad is at fault and the injuries are related to that railroad screw up.
Armed with this information, you get a resolution that is satisfying both financially and personally. Who doesn't like being able to say they took care of business?
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.