Our Experience

The following is a sampling of cases handled by our firm.

PLEASE NOTE: The ethical rules applicable to attorneys in some of the states in which we practice will not allow us to post or publish on our website any of the results of the cases we have handled.

North Carolina — Head On Collision — The driver of a car was hit head-on by a truck. The driver of the truck ran off the road, swerved to the left and crossed the center line. The driver of the car tried to avoid the collision by swerving to the right, taking her car off of the road. The truck hit the car with such force that it shoved the car forty-five (45) feet backwards. It took Fire and Rescue personnel over one and one-half hours to cut the driver out of the car. Following extraction she was life flighted to a Level 1 Trauma facility.

South Carolina — FELA — A Norfolk Southern railroad conductor who was working a regular road switcher was required to perform switching movements on mainline track without a walkway. In the process of dismounting a freight car, the large, sloping and loose ballast gave way underfoot. This caused the conductor to fall. The fall ruptured the conductor’s right bicep and blew out his right knee. For several years prior to the conductor’s fall, co-workers had notified the railroad that the area was not safe and had requested that a walkway be installed due to the hazardous walking conditions. The railroad denied that it knew the area was hazardous or that a walkway had been previously requested by other employees. After denying this, documents proving that Norfolk Southern had knowledge of the dangerous conditions and multiple requests for a walkway surfaced. These injuries ended the conductor’s career as a railroader.

Florida — FELA — In the dark of night, a conductor employed by CSX was required to line a switch on a track next to the entrance road to the railyard. After lining the switch, the conductor crossed the track and signaled his engineer to come forward. As the conductor turned to face the movement, another employee entered the yard via the access road in a truck. As the truck driver turned onto the road she became blinded by the locomotive headlights. Rather than taking the safest course and stopping, the employee continued driving forward, leaving the road and running over the conductor on the ground. The force of the collision, threw the conductor 25 feet. These injuries were career ending.

Florida — FELA — A CSX railroad conductor was required to take a van from his duty point to the railroad yard office. The railroad had hired a contract driver from a private company to transport train crews to and from duty points. After the conductor entered the van, the van driver sped off and hit a pothole in a railyard at high speed. The van driver did not follow operational rules that required confirmation that all passengers were securely belted before beginning the transport. The railyard speed limit was 5 MPH. Evidence showed that the van driver had accelerated to over 30 MPH at the time he hit the hole. The force threw the conductor up into the roof, injuring his spine.

Tennessee — Following a motor vehicle collision, a 19 year old was admitted to the Emergency Room. The attending Emergency Room physician ignored the reports that the patient had a punctured lung. As a result the doctor failed to treat the punctured lung which resulted in a tension pneumothorax. In addition, the doctor failed to perform a chest x-ray after electing to reintubate the patient. Had the doctor done so, it would have revealed the intubation was performed incorrectly. Unfortunately, the doctor left the patient without treating the punctured lung and without correcting the improperly placed tube.

Tennessee — FELA — While working an extra board job, a railroad conductor was required to line a switch off of mainline track that was near a known wash out area and did not have a ballasted walkway. For several months prior to the incident, co-workers had notified the railroad that the area needed a ballasted walkway and that the area was hazardous. The railroad refused to install the walkway and did not correctly fix the wash out. As the conductor was walking towards the switch, the large, sloping ballast gave way near the wash out area causing the conductor to fall and suffer a severe knee injury.

Florida — Motorcycle Collision — A mother and her son were sitting in traffic on their motorcycle when a driver of a van ran over them. The van driver was fatigued and had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the collision. Initially, the van driver crashed into the rear of another vehicle. After that collision, the van travelled approximately 130 feet and ran over the motorcycle. The force of the collision launched the son into the air. The impact and subsequent fall to the ground fractured his pelvis in three places. The van then ran over the motorcycle driver, crushing her back and right knee.

Georgia — Jones Act — An AB Seaman was required to perform superficial maintenance work on the outside of the accommodations tower of a cargo ship in heavy seas. The Captain and the First Mate were aware that the ship was in heavy seas and that there was no harness or fall protection equipment available. Instead, the First Mate required the AB Seaman to use a water hose to tie himself off to the tower. Due to the heavy seas, the Seaman lost his footing and fell. The water hose separated due to its improper use as fall protection equipment. This caused the Seaman to fall twenty-five (25) feet onto the steel deck. The Seaman suffered a severe head injury as a result of the fall. After the fall, with knowledge that the seaman was bleeding from his ears, the captain left the seaman in his bed for 18 hours before reporting the incident to the Coast Guard and obtaining medical treatment.

Florida — FELA — A career welder for the railroad was assigned job duties that exceeded his physical capabilities, creating an unsafe place to work. In addition, the railroad did not give the welder the proper tools to perform his job duties. As a result of being required to perform job duties and tasks that exceeded his physical capabilities, the welder suffered severe injuries to his spine and legs. Due to these injuries, the railroad medically disqualified the welder from service.

Florida — Tractor-Trailer Collision — The driver of a tractor-trailer, who was traveling north and legally blind in his right eye, made a left hand turn onto an interstate on ramp. The right eye blindness made the driver medically unfit to operate a tractor-trailer. Due to the right eye blindness, the driver did not see a south bound car approaching. The driver and passenger in the car were killed when the tractor-trailer rolled over the car.

Illinois — FELA — A railroad conductor suffered a severely broken ankle when forced to work on a track that did not have a ballasted walkway. Upon entering the railyard, the conductor and engineer were instructed to uncouple (set off) several cars on a lead track. Later, after performing switching movements in other parts of the yard, the conductor and engineer were required to pick up the cars that had been set off. In the process of making the coupling, the conductor was required to be on the ground to “cut in air” for the train’s braking system. In taking the safest course possible, as required by railroad rules, the conductor had to work on the side of the track that had no ballasted walkway. After “cutting in the air” for the brakes, the conductor stepped off the end of the crosstie and onto the ballast shoulder. The sloping, loose and poorly maintained ballast gave way underfoot, causing the conductor to twist his ankle to the breaking point. According to the railroad, all of the tracks in the yard were available for switching movements. However, this was the only track that did not have a ballasted walkway.

North Carolina — FELA — For many years the railroad had engineering standards that required the use of ballast that would make a flat, level walkway for yard conductors. The railroad chose to ignore its own standards and use ballast that was larger, less stable and hazardous. After several years spent walking in hazardous conditions, a conductor suffered career ending injuries to his knees.

Florida — An iron worker fell from the roof of a building because the OSHA required fall protection system fabricated and maintained by the on-site contractor was improperly installed. The fall resulted in injuries that ended the iron worker’s career.

Florida — FELA - A railroad conductor was working on an adjacent track when he came into contact with a tank car that was leaking liquid chlorine. The toxic chlorine fumes caused injuries to the conductor’s lungs and eyes. It was determined that the tank car’s valve had been improperly replaced after its last use.

North Carolina — FELA — In the dark of night, an engineer was operating a train through a mountain pass in an area known for rock slides. The railroad had written documents that proved it knew of the rock slides on this particular section of track. Despite this knowledge the railroad did not use any type of rock slide protection or warning systems. As the engineer came around a curve in the mountain pass, a boulder the height of the locomotive was obstructing the track. The train collided with the boulder and was then struck by a second boulder which almost toppled the 260,000 pound locomotive.

Florida — FELA — As required by railroad rules, a conductor was on the point of a shoving movement with seventy-eight (78) auto racks which made the train almost one mile long. As the shoving movement approached an unsignalized crossing, railroad rules required the conductor to dismount the train and flag the crossing to ensure that no vehicle traffic entered the crossing. As the conductor called the engineer down to stop at the crossing, the engineer failed to apply the brakes on the consist. Instead, the engineer used only the brakes on the locomotive. This caused the “slack to run out” and threw the conductor off of the last rail car. The conductor landed on the rails. This caused bilateral shoulder injuries to the conductor as well as a lumbar spine injury.

Georgia — Motor Vehicle Collision — The driver of a dump truck ran a red light in a busy, downtown intersection. As the dump truck driver ran the red light, a vehicle entered from the dump truck’s left. The dump truck t-boned the vehicle. The force of the collision flipped the vehicle. Both the driver and passenger of the vehicle suffered severe injuries.

Florida — FELA — While on industry property, an Engineer was required to throw a railroad switch in a trailing point movement. Due to a lack of maintenance, the switch bound up in the middle of the throwing movement rupturing two disks in the Engineer’s back resulting in a career ending injury.

Georgia — tractor-trailer train collision — A tractor-trailer driver failed to see an approaching train at a railroad grade crossing marked only with crossbucks. Due to the vegetation that the railroad had failed to cut and maintain, the tractor-trailer driver did not see the train. As a result the train collided with the tractor-trailer. The collision destroyed the tractor-trailer and derailed the train.

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