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Railroad Ignored Safety Rule. Injured Worker Awarded $22.47 Million

Railroad Ignored Safety Rule. Injured Worker Awarded $22.47 Million

As the plaintiff was riding on the side of a rail car, it collided with another car parked on an adjacent track, shearing off his left heel.

Railroad Ignored Its Own Safety Rule

May 2016 – Ryan Watson

On Sept. 2, 2011, Michael Parsons, a 30-year-old conductor for Norfolk Southern Railroad Co., was reorganizing railroad cars. The switches in the area where he was working had been replaced recently, narrowing the distance between two previously parallel tracks. As Parsons was riding on the side of a rail car, it collided with another car parked on an adjacent track, shearing off his left heel.

Parsons received a skin graft, but his heel bone later died and was removed. He received a larger, bulky skin graft to cover the wound. He was unable to put weight on his foot for two years, and after he began using it again, the graft tore, resulting in multiple infections. He likely will experience similar problems for the rest of his life. The only permanent solution would be to amputate his leg below the knee.

Chicago attorneys John Power and George Brugess represented Parsons in his suit against Norfolk Southern under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act—the excludisve remedy for railroad workers injured on the job. Brugess argued that the railroad had created a dangerous condition in the rail yard, and Power argued that Parsons’s injuries were severe.

After a nine-day trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $22.47 million. This included $19 million for Parsons’s pain and suffering, $1.5 million for disfurement, $1.5 million in lost benefits and earnings, and $474,102 for future medical expenses. The railroad initially offered only $1 million to settle. “They never took us seriously,” said Power.

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If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.