Locomotive Engineer’s Work-Related Shoulder Injury Made Worse by Train Crash Merits $978,000 Jury Award | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What Happened

Our railroad injury client was working as a locomotive engineer for a freight railroad when he injured his shoulder while moving an extremely heavy metal panel on the outside of a train car. That injury, which was later diagnosed as a torn ligament called the glenoid labrum, was exacerbated by a later crash between his train and a parked rail car.

An investigation into that crash revealed that one of our railroad injury client’s co-workers had failed to close a track switch. That negligent act set the stage for the collision.

The engineer underwent surgery to repair his torn labrum, but he remained permanently unable to completely rotate his shoulder or lift heavy objects without feeling pain. These physical restrictions rendered him unable to continue working for the railroad. While he did eventually earn a college degree and find a job as a teacher, he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime earnings when he was forced to end his railroad career at such an early age.

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Key Legal Strategy

When the medically retired locomotive engineer filed injury and disability claims against the railroad corporation that formerly employed him, he was living in Florida. Our Virginia-based firm’s railroad injury lawyer was brought in by the man’s local legal team to help prove that the railroad had liability.

Evidence our lawyer collected convinced the railroad to admit that it had failed to comply with more than one safety regulation and that its negligent actions allowed our client to get injured twice while doing his job. The company continued to refuse to offer a fair and adequate settlement, however, so we took the railroad to court.

Asked to decide how much the disabled locomotive engineer deserved in compensation and monetary damages for his medical bills, disability, lost lifetime earnings, and pain and suffering, jurors returned a verdict that awarded our client $978.000. Testimony from an economic expert helped the members of the jury understand that becoming a teacher instead of remaining a railroad employ cost our client more than $700,000.

Though we keep our main offices in Virginia Beach, VA, our railroad injury lawyers travel all up and down the East Coast and across the southern United States to help rail employees who get injured at work or develop deadly occupational illnesses like mesothelioma. Railroad work is dangerous, and rail corporations look for almost any excuse to deny fair settlements to employees who get harmed. We welcome opportunities to fight for victims of preventable accidents and exposures to hazardous materials.

Court and Dates: 4th Judicial Circuit Court, Jacksonville, FL, 2001

Staff: Staff attorney