The Chicago FELA attorneys of Peter Higgins Law represented S.C., a signalman for Metra, Chicago's commuter rail division, after he twisted his knee when he hopped down into a 4-foot deep pit to perform his work. He eventually had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and returned to work about a year later. He continued working for two more years and then returned to his doctor complaining of increasing pain in his surgically repaired knee. S.C.'s doctor advised that his only option would be to have a total knee replacement at some point in the future. (NOTE: The law allows a plaintiff to recover damages for future medical treatment as long as a doctor says it is "provable." Provable means more probably true than not true).

Peter Higgins Law sued Metra under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which claimed that it provided S.C. with a reasonably safe place to work. Through expert engineering testimony our FELA attorneys established that it was not reasonably safe to have workers hopping into 4-foot pits; rather, Metra could easily have provided job ladders for the workers to use, or had holes dug with a slope so workers could simply walk in and out. Under applicable law, a rail carrier is liable to any employee whose injury results "in whole or in part" from the carrier's negligence.

Metra also claimed that S.C.'s future total knee replacement surgery was not related to his accident at work. Metra retained a doctor who claimed that S.C.'s damaged knee was due to his natural aging process. S.C.'s treating surgeon strongly opposed this view and testified during deposition how his accident resulted in progressive damage to his knee.

About one week before trial, Metra substantially increased its settlement offer in order to avoid trial, and the case settled for $200,000.

If you or someone you love has been injured during a railroad accident, contact the personal injury lawyers of Peter Higgins Law. Our experience and success with FELA claims and applicable laws can be discussed during a free consultation.