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Shapiro & Appleton

Injured Railroad Worker Receives $2.3M Settlement From BNSF

A railroad worker from Thayer, Missouri (MO), was recently awarded a $2.3 million dollar settlement after suing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. Thomas Joe Carney was injured in August 2005 while working as a railroad engineer. He was operating a train when it ran over rough track on roadbed that, Carney claimed, had experienced a slope failure. Carney injured his back, neck and spine in the accident, and continues to have experience severe pain despite ongoing treatment. The engineer also claimed a psychological injury and loss of wages and benefits.

Carney's attorney, Roger Denton of the Schlichter, Bogard & Denton firm in St. Louis, argued that the BNSF was liable for its employee's injuries under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, or FELA, because it failed to provide a reasonably safe workplace. A significant part of the plaintiff's FELA argument rested on the assertion that BNSF should have should have halted construction around the track where Carney became injured as soon as it become possible that the work could create a slope failure.

We congratulate Denton and Carney on their success with this case. Workplace injuries, especially in the railroad industry, are frequently life-altering. Carney certainly has suffered from this injury long enough. As Virginia railroad injury attorneys, we know all too well how dangerous some work can be. But no one should be endangered on the job, and we hope that BNSF will take steps to prevent any future accidents like this one.

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