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BODY – Tripping on the railroad may not seem like obvious grounds for a lawsuit against your employer.
But when the employer is a railroad company that has allowed weeds to grow so high that the dangers are not readily apparent, it’s the grounds for a multi-million dollar verdict, a jury in Roanoke, Virginia decided.
See this video of a Norfolk Southern derailment.
The result of the 2008 trip was a torn tendon that left the railway worker in constant pain and unable to work. His lawyer successfully argued the weeds had grown so high around the cross tie that Davis was unable to see the trip danger and his workplace was an unsafe one.
Railroad workers are not covered by workers’ compensation. That’s where the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) comes in, although an employer’s negligence needs to be proved for a claim to be successful.
In other cases involving Norfolk Southern
* A conductor who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a Chicago rail yard in April 2005, when a faulty step collapsed was awarded $17 million against Norfolk Southern by a jury.
* Norfolk Southern worker David Rogers whose knee was badly injured when he slipped and fell as he tried to mount runaway railcars in a bid to prevent a crash in a Tennessee rail yard in 2002, was awarded $2.3 million.
*A brakeman whose foot was severed when he fell under a train in a Norfolk Southern yard in Delaware in 2005 after cars were incorrectly coupled was awarded $5.5 million