Car and Tractor Trailer Collision Case, North Carolina Jury Verdict over $1 Million Dollars
Wife and husband were rear-ended by a tractor trailer on Interstate 77 in Surry County, North Carolina. They were knocked into a guardrail causing a second impact. There were no significant visible injuries, however, the husband developed low back pain. He had two prior low back surgeries, a microdiscectomy and a fusion. It was eventually determined that he required another fusion and would be unable to return to work as an automotive technician although he had a second job teaching accounting which he would do on a limited basis. In spite of the prior surgeries, we were able to reach a mediated settlement of the husband's claim for $500,000.00.
The wife's injuries turned out to be more complicated. She soon experienced tremors in her right, dominant hand. After receiving numerous contradictory medical advice, she went to a pain center in Baltimore which coordinated her future care. She underwent two cervical fusions and thoracic outlet surgery, but none of these procedures resolved her tremor. Finally, a fourth brachial plexus surgery eliminated the tremor although she was left with considerable residual pain never resolved. Defendants attempted to argue that her treatment was essentially unnecessary since her pain never resolved. Based on that position, mediation was unsuccessful and the case went to trial in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After a ten day trial, she received a verdict of $1,023,197.20.
Worker Loses Leg and Foot when Run Over by Defective Railcar, $1.5 Million Dollar Settlement, Martinsville, Viriginia
On July 26, 2004, the 45-year old Plaintiff was working in the industrial yard of his employer, Northern Virginia Transfer Company, unloading lumber from railroad cars. A railcar with a defective brake rolled down an incline and hit another car which ran over the Plaintiff, severing one leg just below the knee and also severing the foot on the other leg just below the ankle.
This car, with the defective brake, was placed in the Northern Virginia Transfer yard the night before by a Norfolk Southern train crew. The runaway railcar which caused the injury was found to have a missing part from its hand brake mechanism which caused the hand brake to fail.
Plaintiff's experts were of the opinion that by placing this railcar in the industrial yard with a defective hand brake, Norfolk Southern violated its own rules, industry practices, Federal Railroad Administration regulations and was also in violation of the Federal Safety Appliance Act violation claim. One key issue in the case was whether or not in a state common law action involving a violation of the Federal Safety Appliance Act, could the Defendant still rely on the defense of contributory negligence. Had the Plaintiff been an employee of Norfolk Southern and been able to bring a Federal Employer's Liability Act claim against the railroad, then if he proved a violation of the Safety Appliance Act, contributory negligence would have clearly not been available to the Defendant as a defense.
In this case, Norfolk Southern brought a third-party action against Plaintiff's employer, Northern Virginia Transfer Company under an indemnity agreement. Before trial, a mediation was held between the three-named parties and an agreement was reached to settle the Plaintiff's case for $1.5 million dollars with a waiver of the worker's compensation insurance liens.
Car and Tractor Trailer Collision Case, West Virginia $375,000.00 Settlement
The driver of the tractor trailer was struck by a driver of an automobile in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The driver of the car went over the center line of the road and struck the truck driven by the Plaintiff. Due to back injuries, the Plaintiff was unable to return to work and had to undergo major back surgery at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. A $375,000.00 settlement was reached after mediation.
$320,000.00 Motorcycle / Car Accident Mediation Settlement in Roanoke, Virginia
Plaintiff was injured when a small pickup truck turned left in front of him while riding his motorcycle in Roanoke, Virginia, when a small pickup truck turned left in front of him. Plaintiff was ejected from the motorcycle and landed on his shoulder, sustaining a comminuted fracture of his left clavicle, fracture of his left scapular, compression fracture of the T4 vertebrae, comminuted fracture of his little finger and a large laceration from his shoulder to his neck. He incurred $37,585.00 in medical expenses and loss wages of $27,427.00. At a six hour mediated settlement conference, we were able to secure a settlement of $320,000.00.
$2,515,285.00 Detroit, Michigan Jury Verdict in Railroad Injury Case
The Plaintiff was a Carman for the Grand Trunk Western Railway Company and, as a result of his work, he sustained cumulative trauma injuries to both hips. He underwent several surgeries on both hips and eventually had to have both his right and left hips replaced. After the hip replacement surgery, Plaintiff was unable to return to his job at the railroad. Therefore, he sustained a substantial future loss of income. After a two week trial in State Court in Detroit, Michigan, the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff in the amount of $2,515,285.00.
$450,000.00 Settlement at Trial in Roanoke, Virginia Slip and Fall Case
The Plaintiff was injured at a local restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia when she slipped and fell on a spot of grease on the floor while she was going to the restroom. She incurred substantial medical treatment, including one surgery before trial. She was also going to have to have in the future two additional surgeries. After a three day trial in the Circuit Court of the City of Roanoke, a settlement was reached in the amount of $450,000.00.
Railroad Worker Occupational Injury FELA Case, $1.5 Million Dollar Jury Verdict in Baltimore, Maryland
The Plaintiff began working for the railroad in approximately 1970. The Plaintiff was required to work in CSX's yards in Baltimore on large mainline ballast, even though CSX's own rules required that the railroad use small walking ballast in its yards where brakemen, conductors and other railroad workers walked and worked. Until 1990, the Plaintiff was required to get on and off of moving railroad cars and locomotives onto and from the large mainline ballast. The Plaintiff presented evidence that other brakemen/conductors had complained to CSX about having to work and walk on the large mainline ballast in CSX's yards. These written complaints went back almost 20 years and were made by CSX brakemen/conductors working in CSX's yards in Jacksonville, Florida, North Carolina, as well as, complaints from co-workers in the same yards in Baltimore where the Plaintiff had to work. The Plaintiff developed an early onset of osteoarthritis in both knees from his work activities, including working and walking on the large mainline ballast. The Plaintiff had left knee surgery in 2000 when he was 51-years old. He also underwent partial left knee replacement surgery in December 2002. The medical evidence presented at trial was that the Plaintiff would have to undergo further surgery on his left knee to replace the partial knee replacement with a total knee replacement. Medical evidence also showed that he would have to undergo a total knee replacement of the right knee as well. Plaintiff presented evidence at trial of past and future lost wages and benefits in an amount over $500,000.00. After an eight day trial, the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff in the amount of $1.5 million dollars. Defendant railroad appealed the award made by the jury. On October 1, 2004, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland in a well-reasoned opinion denied all the Defendant railroad's appeals issues and affirmed the $1.5 million dollar verdict to the Plaintiff. See CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Donald E. Miller, 858 A.2d 1025 (Md. App. 2004). The Defendant railroad then appealed this decision to the Maryland Court of Appeals. After hearing oral argument, the Maryland Court of Appeals dismissed the defendant railroad's petition and, at that time, the $1.5 million dollar judgment, along with almost 2 years worth of interest, was finally paid by the Defendant CSX Transportation, Inc. See CSX Transportation, Inc. V. Donald Miller, 387 MD 251 (2005).
Metro-North Carman Suffers Cumulative Trauma Knee Injuries Requiring Knee Replacements, $386,000.00 Mediated Settlement in New York City
The Plaintiff was a Carman for Metro-North and worked many years at Metro-North's facilities at the Grand Central Station in mid-town Manhattan. He also worked as a Carman at Metro-North's Highbridge facility in the Bronx. At this facility, Plaintiff was required to refurbish Metro-North's passenger railroad cars. In these jobs, Plaintiff was exposed to all the risk factors for developing cumulative trauma disorders of the knee. Due to the jobs, Plaintiff developed early onset osteoarthritis of his knee. The arthritis became so severe that he was required to undergo a knee replacement. Plaintiff had to undergo several revisions of his first knee replacement. Because of his knee injuries, Plaintiff was unable to return to his job as a Carman. At mediation, the Plaintiff's case was settled for $386,000.00.