A New York federal judge in Long Island ruled last week that the Long Island Railroad Company must face a negligence lawsuit due to poor medical advice it allegedly provided to an employee who hurt his back on the job. The judge ruled that there is enough evidence to possibly hold the railroad liable for his injuries.
US District Judge Edgardo Ramos denied the motion by the railroad for summary judgement to dodge three negligence claims that the employee asserted against the railroad under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The worker sued the railroad for injuries that he suffered when he was drilling into a section of railroad track to repair what is called a heat kink. He also allegedly suffered further back injuries in the physical therapy overseen by Long Island Railroad Company.
Ramos ruled that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the first negligence claim, as LIRR did not provide him with a safe workplace. The judge added that the railroad did not maintain the track, which led to the heat kink forming.
The railroad worker was a signal maintainer for 10 years before he had a herniated disc in his back in 2012 on the job. He was doing crossing inspections when he had to fix the heat kink in the track. This involves replacing and reclamping a drill bit, which means he must lug around a 50 pound drill for several hours, which was when he suffered the back injury.
On the second negligence claim, the judge agreed that the ‘work hardening’ aspect of his physical therapy may have worsened his back injury. Critically, the physical therapy was overseen by LIRR supervisors who are not doctors or physical therapists.
Our railroad workplace injury attorneys in Virginia certainly hope that this injured worker is successful in his lawsuit and recovers fully from his injuries. From the news report, it sounds entirely possible that the railroad could be negligent and this led to his back injury. It is particularly alarming that the man’s supervisors who are not medical professionals oversaw the man’s rehabilitation. A herniated disc is an extremely serious condition and must be handled very carefully by qualified medical personnel.
If you have been hurt on the job at a railroad, please review our guide A Railroad Worker’s Rights When Injured on the Job. Many railroad workers regard our guide as the bible on the Federal Employers Liability Act. This federal statute is critical when an injured rail worker gets hurt while working. Understanding this statute is vital in obtaining maximum compensation in a FELA lawsuit, as in this case that we settled for $825,000.