Recently in train accident Category

May 7, 2012

Train Cuts Tractor-Trailer in Two - No Injuries Reported

Last Friday, a dangerous railroad crossing in Kings Mountain, North Carolina claimed a tractor-trailer loaded with cotton bails as its latest victim when a huge train sliced the 18-wheeler in two near Battleground Avenue and Oak Street in Kings Mountain. Luckily, no one was injured. The video is amazing.

Town officials have long known about the dangers presented by the dangerous railroad crossing according to the Gaston Gazette, but until now had failed to act. The problem is that the railroad tracts are quite high above the level of the road, and the road ramps sharply upward as you approach the tracks. In this collision, the tractor-trailer's landing gear caught on the tracts, and the truck was stuck.

Although there are signs on both sides of the tracks prohibiting tractor-trailers from using the crossing, there have been 4 such train wrecks at this crossing since 2011, and 14 since 1976. North Carolina DOT has been after city leaders since 2008 to make them close the crossing. City leaders have previously failed to take action. The near fatal collision in this case should cause the city to close the crossing.

The truck driver and his passenger narrowly escaped the speeding locomotive, jumping from the truck just seconds prior to impact. After the crash, city leaders decided to temporarily close the railroad crossing, and have indicated that they plan to hold a public hearing on the issue of permanently closing the crossing. For the City to Ignore such a clear safety hazard for so long amounts to a reckless indifference to the safety of the general public.

Cities and towns in North Carolina, in conjunction with DOT, decide where railroad crossings will occur. If any crossing presents an unusual hazard, such as this one, city leaders have the authority and obligation to close it.

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April 8, 2010

$48 Million FELA Jury Verdict Against Railraod Affirmed On Appeal

Union Pacific Railroad.jpgA recent appellate decision affirmed an enormous jury verdict in favor of a railroad worker who was paralyzed while on the job. The railroad worker, Eric Doi, sued Union Pacific Railroad under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) after a co-worker lost control of a company vehicle and crashed, causing Doi to become paralyzed. At the time of the wreck, Doi and the co-worker were going to Wal-Mart to buy food and drinks to be consumed while at work. The big question on appeal was whether Doi and the driver were acting within the course and scope of their employment with the railroad at the time of the wreck.

The FELA provides that a railroad is liable to a railroad employee that suffers injury as a result of the negligence of an employee of the railroad. After a thorough and well-reasoned analysis, the Court of Appeals found that Doi and the driver were acting within the course and scope of their employment in that the act of going to buy food and drink to be used at work constituted conduct that was "incident to" the work they were going to be performing later in the day.

While the jury's verdict was huge, Doi's damages were unbelievably horrible. Some people see or hear about a large verdict and immediately conclude that the jury made a mistake, but in my experience juries make the correct decision in the vast majority of cases.

Just a few of the issues Doi must now deal with after becoming a quadriplegic include having no feeling below his nipples and no control over his bladder and bowels. His penis has to be catherized several times a day, and the stool in his bowel must be physically removed from his body each day. He can no longer have sex. He suffers from frequent pressure sores. As a result, he has to be turned every 15 minutes, and this happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He experiences swelling in his feet and legs, severe headaches, bladder infections, and abnormal bone growth in his hip that will require surgery. He must have nursing care 24 hours a day. He now suffers from clinical depression and has been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) His life expectancy is 29 percent less than it was before the wreck. At the time of the crash, Doi enjoyed numerous outdoor sporting activities and was about to marry and start a family. Instead of thinking about marriage, his thoughts now focus on committing suicide, and he has trouble envisioning anything meaningful in his future. Nursing and medical care alone will likely exceed $25 Million over his lifetime. With harms and losses like these, the verdict seems just.

At Davis Law Group, we help injured railroad workers recover the compensation they deserve. We have handled serious injury cases involving quadriplegia, brain injury and amputations. If you have suffered a serious injury while employed by a railroad and would like to consult with an experienced FELA attorney, give Brian Davis at Davis Law Group a call. The consultation is free.