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Conductor Awarded $1.75M for Injuries Suffered in Union Pacific Derailment Caused by Truck Crash

A Union Pacific conductor who suffered career-ending herniated lower disc injuries when the Union Pacific freight train he was crewing derailed after colliding with a tanker truck south of Minco, Oklahoma (OK) has been awarded $1.75 million to cover his medical treatment expenses and lost wages. The accident in which the man became disabled occurred in March 2009 and was caused by the driver of the tractor-trailer rig, who drove onto the tracks in front of the approaching train after blacking out behind the wheel. The at-fault driver had undiagnosed and untreated heart disease.

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I learned of this jury award for the injured rail employee the day after my law firm colleague and fellow FELA attorney Rick Shapiro blogged about a strikingly similar truck-train crash and derailment accident near New Orleans. In that wreck, the Amtrak Crescent passenger train struck a flatbed vehicle transporter, leading to injuries for conductors and an engineer, two passengers and the driver of the truck.

Collisions at railroad crossings occurred 2,009 times during 2010 and 1,925 times during 2009. Those crashes between trains, cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians resulted in about 1,500 deaths and nearly 15,000 injuries to drivers, vehicle and train passengers, people on foot and rail workers. In short, intersections between tracks and roads and highways are dangerous places. Approaching trains must be given right of way in or order to prevent casualties and loss of life.


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