Shopcraft Employes Represented by Kaplan Law Corporation

A 53-year old shopcraft worker from California was caused to fall in a pit in the Diesel Shop. The railroad contended that the accident was due to the negligence of the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered serious internal and head injuries. Prior to trial, we negotiated a present value settlement in excess of $3,000,000.00, which also included payment of all medical bills. From a portion of that amount, after working many, many hours, at no additional fee, we obtained a specifically tailored structured settlement for the needs of our client and the protection of his family. Prior to our representation, there was no offer of settlement extended to him from the railroad.

A Shopcraft worker and assistant foreman from California was injured when he was attempting, with the help of a co-worker, to place a suction hose into a pit, and slipped and fell into the pit, suffering severe spinal injuries. The railroad contented that he was not paying attention to where he was walking, that he pushed the hose too hard without properly notifying the co-worker, and a supervisor, if he needed additional help or equipment he simply could have asked for it. Through the deposing of various witnesses, the utilization of experts which included the plaintiff a videotape re-enactment of the accident, the case was settled just prior to the start of the trial for $950,000.00 including a structured settlement that paid $1,500.00 per month for life.

A shopcraft worker from California and local chairman was injured when he tripped and fell on a trailer while unloading wheel motor assemblies. The railroad initially contended he was significantly at fault because he failed to look where he was going and, further, neglected to use a flashlight to look over the work area. He underwent spinal surgery to the lumbar-sacral area. The railroad contended that he had, in fact, suffered the lumbar disc injury in a prior injury which had been settled on the basis that according to his physician in the prior case involved a "herniated disc". The herniated disc in the prior accident was at the exact same level as the herniated disc in the accident we represented him on. He received no offer from the railroad prior to our representation, however, we were able to obtain a settlement of $692,000.00, plus the railroad agreeing to apportion and pay in monies to allow him to attain 240 months of service. Additionally, a structured settlement was also included in the settlement to further add security and protection for himself and his family.

A signal foreman from California suffered the first injury to his low back when, with the help of another co-workers, securing an approximately 60 lb. signal unit to the pole, he did not report this accident, nor did he receive any medical treatment. The Plaintiff's second accident occurred when he and four other co-workers were moving an approximately 250 lb. signal switch. The railroad contended that the Plaintiff, who was the foreman, was the cause of his accident because he felt ne needed more help or equipment to assist in performing the job, all he had to do was ask for it. Plaintiff eventually underwent fusion which, the defendant contended, was the result of a pre-existing congenital condition. Prior to our representation, our client had "worked" with the Claims Department for three years, eventually only being offered $200,000.00 less all company advancements and liens. His case was settled by our law firm for $665,000.00 with a structured settlement plus the payment of all medical bills.

A Heavy Equipment mechanic/machinist attached to the shops, suffered a serious lumbar disc injury and trauma to the chest when a portion of the hi-rail from a company vehicle that he was working on came loose and struck him causing the aforementioned injuries. The Railroad contended that the accident was the Plaintiff's fault because he had failed to properly secure the hi-rail attachment by chain or by placing jackstands prior to working under it in direct violation of company rules. Through extensive investigation and pre-trial discovery conducted by our office, it was determined that the work method and conditions employed by the Railroad to accomplish this task was inherently unsafe and as such should have warned the Plaintiff of same. His case was settled for the sum of $600,000.00 plus the payment of all medical bills.

A shopcraft worker from California was injured when he was sprayed in the eyes with diesel fuel when a gasket on a fuel pump broke. The Railroad contended that the Plaintiff had failed to properly and safely position himself prior to pumping the fuel and that he was not wearing his safety glasses. The Railroad's medical trial expert contended that the fuel could not have cause the type of damage to the eyes which the plaintiff has contended he experienced. Our firm, through extensive investigation, reading all available medical and chemical literature as well as the retention of top flight medical experts, were able to prove that not only the fuel but the NALCO additive contained extremely harmful and dangerous components that were extremely harmful to the eyes. Additionally, we were able to demonstrate that the fueling system violated OSHA standards. He was offered less than $25,000.00 prior to our representation. His case was settled for $485,000.00.

One of the cases was a result that I am very proud of involved a locomotive engineer from California who was sued by the railroad for causing an accident that resulted in the carrier having to pay several millions of dollars to two co-workers. If he were to have been found liable for the damage to the locomotives and cars, he would have lost his house, his possessions and had his salary garnished essentially for life. At no cost to him, I undertook his representation and obtained a complete dismissal of all claims as well as a waiver of costs by the railroad. Although our firm received no compensation for this undertaking, we were able to stop a tremendous injustice from happening to a railroader personally and to all railroaders in general in that it was the railroad's plan to intimidate their employees from bringing legitimate claims under the FELA by initiating such lawsuits.

The purpose of mentioning all of the aforementioned case results is to demonstrate that our law firm has, over the years, consistently undertaken a variety of diversified types of cases involving different crafts, different factual situations, different medical injuries against different railroads and brought them to a successful conclusion.

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