$48,495,120 verdict in favor of an assistant signalman paralyzed in a rollover car crash while in a company truck
The plaintiff was a 28-year-old assistant signalman that was a passenger in a company truck driven by a co-worker. The truck veered off the road and when the driver tried to regain control, he
over-corrected and applied too much force to the steering wheel. The truck went up an embankment, through a fence, rolled over, and entered an adjacent interstate highway, crushing the roof. The worker sustained a spinal cord injury, rendering him a quadriplegic.
At the time of the accident, the plaintiff had just flown into Tucson to work for Union Pacific on a paid travel day. At trial, the lawyers argued that since he was being paid for his time and was preparing to perform his job duties, Union Pacific was fully liable for his damages under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). Much of the money asked for at trial was to pay for 24-hour care the plaintiff required for the rest of his life.
The jury found that Union Pacific violated FELA, awarding $48,495,120. Union Pacific’s motions for a new trial and verdict reduction were subsequently denied.