Defect in Railroad Track that Injured Conductor Leads to $1.67 Million Verdict Against Burlington Northern
A railroad is not only responsible for the actions of its drivers and the state of its trains. It is also responsible for the state of its track.
In a case in Missouri, a railroad was found to be liable after defective track left a conductor with neck and back injuries. The case led to a $1.67 million verdict by a jury in St Louis.
FELA Reporter noted how the plaintiff sustained neck and low back injuries in 2008 while working as a conductor on the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad.
The accident occurred when his freight train ran over defective track and bottomed out near Golden City in southwest Missouri.
Inspectors later found a two inch dip in one of the rails on the track. FELA Reporter referred to railroad maintenance records which had revealed previous problems with the section of track, caused by washouts from flooding. In this case, the conductor described the force of the impact as being like a “rollercoaster.”
He said it threw him off his seat and left him with spinal damage. He was subsequently diagnosed with herniated discs in his cervical and lumber spine. He continued to work for a year, despite constant pain, before being placed on light duties.
I have more than two decades of experience in working with injured railroad employees on FELA claims. There are many hidden hazards on the railroads that face workers, including dangerous chemicals and emissions and injuries from derailments. See these questions about accidents involving railroad workers. All cases are different and we cannot guarantee the same result in your railroad worker injury case.