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Engineer awarded $1.9 million in workplace injury suit

Anyone who has been injured on the job knows firsthand what it can mean to the family budget. Across Florida, there are numerous residents who are dealing with pain and expense as a result of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, defective product harm and workplace injury. When fault lies elsewhere, seeking compensation to help with recovery no matter what the cause is a helpful tool in the recovery toolbox.

Workplace injuries are slightly different in that a victim has options from which to choose when contemplating the best way to go forward. Workers' compensation insurance provides employers and employees the means to help with lost wages during recovery. Some people, like a railroad engineer in another state, choose to sue.

In 2010, the 42-year-old was allegedly hurt while operating a locomotive in the normal course of his job. According to court records, the presiding judge ruled that a safety violation did occur, causing the 10,000-ton train to crash into the locomotive after it became uncoupled. The plaintiff and additional crew were reportedly able to prevent a derailment; however, he claims head, neck and lower back injuries. The judge further ruled the plaintiff was not negligent in the accident. Based on these findings, the jury was not asked to determine if plaintiff should receive less than the full amount of its $1.9 million verdict.

A railroad representative states they accept the jury's award. The defendant had argued at trial that plaintiff overstated his injuries, claiming the collision impact was slight. According to the victim's counsel, he has undergone four surgeries and has yet to resume working. They estimate eventually he may be able to do light duty, but the salary would be about $50,000 less per year than he had previously earned.

Filing a complaint under the Federal Employers' Liability Act was the choice here, and a jury supported the man's position. A thorough evaluation of the accident investigation and a victim's personal needs with a skilled eye helps determine the best way to seek future financial security after an accident.

Source:  Courthouse News Service, "Jury Awards Injured Engineer $1.9 Million" Joe Harris, Apr. 18, 2014

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