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Jefferson County Jury Awards $12.5 Million to Railroad Worker with Amputated Leg

A 51-year-old BNSF Railway conductor/switchman from Jackson, Missouri was directing trains in a rail yard when he fell into the tracks and had both of his legs run over by a slow-moving train. The man tripped over a large boulder (9 inches by 5 inches) while he was walking along the tracks and looked down to see both of his legs crushed by a train. Once he was taken to Barnes Jewish Hospital, the victim had to have his right leg amputated below the knee and part of his left heel had to be removed. After numerous surgeries, the victim brought a negligence suit against the train company under the Federal Employers Liability Act for having unsafe working conditions (e.g. a rocky area where workers walked).

The case made for an interesting trial: with no actual video evidence of the accident, each side offered their own rendition of the events and backed it up with expert witness testimony. In the end, the victim prevailed and jury members found that the railroad company "did not convince [them] that the accident happened differently." A Jefferson County jury awarded the victim $12.5 million—an award that is thought to be the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Jefferson County. Although punitive damages were not allowed, the award included money for future medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and disfigurement.

The Federal Railroad Administration's statistics show that an estimated 11,000 train accidents occur each year. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a train accident, you should seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you claim monetary damages for your pain and suffering and compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. It is not widely known that railroads are not closely watched by the federal government, as they are basically self-regulated entities. The technology that railroad companies depend on is, in many cases, more than 70 years old, and safety procedures and measures have not been greatly updated. In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of accidents involving trains hitting pedestrians. There can be many causes, complexities and factors involved in railroad accidents. The lawyers at Meyerkord & Kurth will listen to all of the facts of your case and help you determine whether you have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the railroad. Please contact us at (314) 436-9958 or (800) 391-4318 for more information.

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