Staff Randall E. Appleton, attorney
Becky Wyatt, legal assistant
Herbert Wooten, investigator
Case Description Railroad worker injured lifting a gas cylinder
What Happened Our client suffered a shoulder injury attempting to lift a gas cylinder. The cylinder slipped during the lift and the Railroad worker suffered an injury to his shoulder attempting to regain control of the cylinder. Our client was previously seen by his family doctor with complaints of shoulder pain and had been referred to an orthopedist for a consultation. The appointment for the consultation had been scheduled prior to the Railroad worker’s injury for roughly two weeks subsequent to the injury. Our client did not immediately report the injury to his employer for fear of retaliation; however, the orthopedist noted findings of a recent injury at the time of his consultation and when pressed by the orthopedist, the Railroad worker provided a description of the on-duty injury. The orthopedist advised our client to report his injury to his employer and told our client that his injury prevented him from being able to safely perform his duties with the railroad. Following his appointment with the orthopedist, our client returned to his job and reported his injury. Our client's on-site supervisor reported the injury to a higher level official who traveled approximately 50 miles with another official to personally discuss the incident with the Railroad worker. By the time the meeting had concluded, our client had written a statement describing the causes of the injury as an incident at home and stating the railroad was not liable for his injuries. Our client's testimony at deposition was that he prepared the statement at the direction of the official and out of fear of losing his job. Once the statement was finished, the official advised our client that he was on medical hold and had no further contact with our client.
Legal Strategy The depositions of the officials involved in the composition of our client's statement was videotaped and revealed circumstances which bolstered our client's rationale behind the statement. The depositions also revealed our client had not been provided with basic equipment designed to assist in the handling of the subject tank.
Outcome The case settled for a confidential sum shortly before trial.