A railroad employee who hurt his back when he fell at a Taylor, Pennsylvania (PA) rail yard in 2010 won more than $280,000 in federal court.

Jeff McAndrew, 44, from Clifford, PA filed a lawsuit against Delaware and Hudson Railway in 2011. He alleged that the railroad company did not properly clear a railroad crossing of snow and ice. The fall left him with major back problems.

Lawsuit court filings stated that McAndrew, a conductor, fell on Feb. 21, 2010, a few minutes after he walked to the crossing to flip a switch. The suit sought damages under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA). This law allows railroad workers to sue for injuries on the job if they can prove that the railroad knew of a danger and did not take steps to mitigate it.

Attorneys for the rail company disputed the claims of the plaintiff, stating that no other person witnessed the fall. They also said that McAndrew was at least partially responsible for his injuries, as he knew it was snowing and he had a responsibility to be careful.

Jurors listened to testimony for four days before they found that the plaintiff was 55% responsible for his injuries, and the railroad was 45% responsible. The panel awarded McAndrew $627,000 for pain and suffering, as well as past and future loss of earnings.

However, the judge on the case – US District Judge Robert Mariani – cut the award to $282,000 based upon the requirements of the Federal Employers Liability Act. It states that any monetary award must be reduced to reflect the responsibility of the employee for his or her injuries.