Saint Louis, MO (PRWEB) May 20, 2014
According to the lawsuit, Chad Hyman, 42, of Villa Grove, Illinois was injured four years ago while working as a locomotive engineer for Union Pacific Railroad Company when a 75 car freight train broke apart from the locomotive while operating in the railroad’s St. Louis Service Unit. Before the train’s emergency brakes could fully engage, the 10,000 ton train ran back into the locomotive in which Hyman was working, jarring the crew members due to the collision as they fought to prevent the train from derailing. He sustained head, neck and low back injuries for which extensive spinal surgery was performed by noted St. Louis orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Gornet. Before trial, the court entered summary judgment against Union Pacific finding that it had violated federal safety laws which resulted in injury to Hyman. The case was then set for jury trial to determine the nature and extent of his injuries from the incident and the amount of damages to fairly compensate him. Hyman, a 14 year employee of the railroad, sought compensation for his outstanding and future medical bills and lost wages. At trial, Union Pacific disputed the extent of injuries, pointing out that the black box event recorder revealed minimal collision forces from what was essentially a 2 mph collision which resulted in no property damage, no derailment, and no physical bruising to Hyman. The verdict was returned following 2½ hours of deliberation. According to Hyman’s attorney, Nelson G. Wolff of Schlichter Bogard & Denton:
Chad was a loyal and dedicated railroad employee who saved this runaway train from a derailment disaster. The railroad exposed him to needless danger by violating federal safety laws that require trains to be coupled together securely. The railroad’s denial that the collision caused any significant injury was soundly rejected by the jury. This verdict will allow Chad to pay for necessary medical treatment of his injuries and compensate for the loss of his railroad career.
The case was brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act or FELA because railroad employees are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws. The case was tried before Circuit Judge Mark D. Seigel and reportedly is one of the largest FELA verdicts in the history of St. Louis County. Hyman was represented by Nelson G. Wolff of Schlichter Bogard & Denton, of St. Louis. Hyman v. Union Pacific RR Co., Case #11SL-CC01865, Circuit Court of St. Louis County. The full amount of the judgment, plus court costs and post-judgment interest was paid by Union Pacific after trial without any appeal or post-trial motion. The Judgment exceeded the Railroad’s pretrial offer by over $1million.
***Please call Nelson G. Wolff at 314-621-6115 for further details or questions***