Maintenance of Way Employes Represented by Kaplan Law Corporation

The cases listed below are a small cross-sampling of the results our firm has obtained on behalf of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way members.

A Maintenance of Way from California, suffered a herniated cervical disc while riding in a company vehicle that became involved in a collision. The defendant contended that the Plaintiff was inattentive at the time of the accident and further was exaggerating the nature and extent of his injuries. The defendant also contended that the Plaintiff underwent unnecessary surgery and was capable of mitigating his damages. Prior to our representation of the plaintiff, the defendant made no offer. His case was settled in excess of $900,000.00 as well as payment of all medical bills.

A 52-year old welder working for the Maintenance of Way Department in Oregon, suffered injuries to his shoulder, knee and leg when a rail that he was cutting sprung out and struck him. The railroad contended that he violated several safety rules and was guilty of a significant percentage of comparative negligence in that he failed to ascertain that the rail was properly secured before cutting it. We were able to demonstrate that the defendant had an unsafe and improper work method, failed to provide proper, safe and suitable tools, equipment and machinery, failed to provide a safe place to work and negligently failed to offer proper warnings to our client. Prior to our representation, our client was offered in the low six figures. Our office obtained a settlement for our client in the amount of $900,000.00 plus the payment of all medical bills.

A longtime Maintenance of Way worker from Yuma, Arizona was run over and killed by a speed swing being operated by a co-worker. The railroad contended that in direct violation of orders, the plaintiff walked behind the speed swing and into its path. The foreman, assistant foreman and speed swing operator testified on behalf of the railroad. Through extensive discovery we were able to prove that the speed swing did not have properly working mirrors or a sufficient warning system. Just prior to trial the railroad offered slightly under one million dollars, plus a substantial structured settlement for the children and widow which resulted in the family receiving a total guaranteed package worth several million dollars tax free. Prior to our representation of the family the railroad had offered only $50,000.00 to the family.

A longtime Trackman from California was killed when a truck that he was riding in collided with the overpass of a freeway bridge. The defendant contended that the decedent had failed to secure the boom to the truck bed and further failed to notice that it was extended into the air when he left the job site in violation of company rules. Consequently, the extended boom collided with the overpass bridge sending the truck careening into the pillar support of the bridge. Additionally, it was undisputed that the decedent had failed to wear his safety belt. Prior to our representing, the railroad offered the family approximately $150,000.00 less previously advanced burial expenses, stating that they should feel fortunate to receive that much because her husband was at fault for not securing the boom and not wearing his seat belt and he did not have many more years to work. The case settled for, again, just under one million dollars and a substantial tax free structured settlement worth several million dollars guaranteed was also obtained for the family members.

A Maintenance of Way trackman from California, who had only been working for the railroad for four months at the time of his accident, injured his back when he pushed a wheelbarrow grinder approximately twenty feet across the crossing and down alongside the track area. The plaintiff did not immediately claim injury or prepare an accident report, nor had the accident been witnessed by any co-worker. The defendant hotly contested liability and further claimed that the only reason the Plaintiff needed a spinal fusion was because of a long term pre-existing spinal condition that caused him to have an unstable back. Additionally, the defendant claimed that the Plaintiff had, in actuality, injured himself when he fell off of a scaffold when performing work for his own plastering business that he operated on the side. The case was settled for $700,000.00.

A 62 year-old Spanish speaking Maintenance of Way worker from California suffered a fracture of his right leg involving the tibia and fibula, caused by the rail moving and striking his leg. The railroad contended that he "placed himself in a hazardous position and failed to remain alert and cognizant of work being done. . . he placed his leg next to the rail during a time when movement of that rail was expected." Again, through extensive investigation and discovery conducted by our office, it was ascertained that the procedure that the carrier was utilizing at the time and place of the accident was improper and unsafe. Prior to our representation, the railroad made no offer. Our office obtained a settlement of $462,000.00 for the plaintiff.

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