WHAT HAPPENED: Our client was in the western part of Virginia working for the railroad when he was assigned the task of "throwing" a derail device. Unfortunately, the method that this railroad had specified for the movement of the derail devices of this type was a very difficult "ergonomic" move on the low back, so it was an improper work procedure. Our client was hurt even though he followed procedure that the railroad had outlined.
Our client treated with his orthopaedic surgeon who eventually gave him lifting and pushing restrictions that disqualified him from rail conductor work. While our client still had residual capability to work at certain lighter duty jobs, there were significant issues about the extent of our client's lost wages as well as issues relating to whether the railroad was responsible for causing his derail injury.
KEY LEGAL STRATEGY: Our firm located key internal memoranda where the railroad had changed the method of throwing this type of derail immediately after this incident, essentially recognizing that it was an improper and difficult ergonomic movement. After this client injury, the railroad specified a different way that workers were to throw this type of derail device. Because of lack of serious settlement negotiations by the railroad, our law firm sued in Federal Court in Tennessee and soon after the filing of suit, settlement negotiations ensued.