Jury Awards $991,000 Over Railroad Worker’s On-The Job Back Injury

Back injuries are among the most serious conditions railroad workers can face. In a recent case in New York, the Long Island Railroad was hit with a $991,000 verdict after a signal worker claimed a physical therapy program exacerbated his on-the-job back injury.

A report on Law 360 stated the jury in Manhattan hit the railroad with the verdict after finding it was negligent in putting signal worker Daniel Curran into a physical therapy program.

It was described as a “work hardening” program and was said to have made his on-the-job back injury worse.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos denied the railroad’s motion for summary judgment against Curran last year.

However, the jury declined to find the Long Island Railroad negligent over a problem with rail buckling that it experienced in 2012. Curran claimed the on-the-job back injury occurred during an emergency repair of the lines.

The jury decided the railroad should not have pushed the signal worker to take part in physical therapy that was beyond his limits.

This “work hardening” therapy delayed Curran’s recovery, his attorney Marc Wietzke of Flynn & Wietzke PC, told the jury.

He said there was no timeline for recovery and it made little sense to push the railroad workers so hard given his existing on-the-job back injury.
Lawyers for the railroad indicated they will appeal the verdict. They challenged the accusations of negligence.

Curran was paid about $360,000 during the time he has not been working. The railroad is able to offset any damages he ultimately recovers by that amount.

Back injuries are common among railroad workers and they can be career ending. Recently. We noted how poor seating on trains is causing back injuries among workers,

More than a decade ago, a report by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers said executives of railroad companies make decisions focused on the “bottom line” while the crews who sit on chairs have little say.

There was little incentive for the railroads to tackle the high level of vibration workers face on poor seating.

Studies have repeatedly pointed to the ongoing pain suffered by railroad employees forced to sit on these poorly designed seats.

If you have suffered an on-the-job back injury working on the railroad, our FELA injury lawyers want to hear from you. Please call us at (866) 455-6657.

John Cooper