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Texas-based railroad ordered to pay millions to injured worker

The former Marine enjoys nature and taking walks in state parks. Since his workplace accident, however, walking is a difficult task rather than a pleasure. That's because the former employee of a Texas-based railroad had to have his right leg amputated below the knee after the limb was crushed beneath the wheels of a train in a rail yard where he worked. He has had to relearn to walk, using a prosthetic leg.

The 51-year-old was directing trains back in May of 2012 when he tripped over a rock in a recently resurfaced portion of the yard, falling on the tracks. A few days ago, a Missouri jury awarded $12.5 million to the man to compensate him for lost past wages, loss of future income, past and future medical expenses, disfigurement and pain.

The jury deliberated about two hours before returning its unanimous verdict, a news report indicated.

A spokesperson for BNSF railroad said it believes "that its workplace, equipment, employees or supervisors did nothing to contribute to" the injuries the worker suffered. It should be noted that in addition to the amputation, the man also lost part of his left heel when the slow-moving train ran over his legs.

The former rail worker's personal injury attorney said the railroad was negligent for covering the area with rocks too large for safe employee walking. The rock that caused the worker's fall was approximately nine inches by five inches.

The company reportedly offered a pre-trial settlement of $400,000; an offer the worker and his attorney turned down. The jury's decision means the worker is to receive more than 30 times that amount.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Jefferson County jury awards $12.5 million to railroad worker who lost leg," Kim Bell, Jan. 29, 2014

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