Louisiana Engineer Injured in Train Collision with Tractor-trailer in Byram, Mississippi – $1,000,017.00 Settlement for Engineer before Trial
O. Wayne Matthews was employed as an engineer for National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) operating a locomotive engine on a trip between New Orleans, Louisiana and Byram, Mississippi. As Mr. Matthews approached the Prisock Road crossing in Byram, a Harcros Chemical tractor/trailer who was servicing an account at the facility owned and operated by Griffin Industries, attempted to cross the track. The train collided with the tractor/trailer cutting the trailer in half and Mr. Matthews sustained severe injuries to his shoulder and neck immediately seeking medical treatment at Baptist Medical Center. The Prisock Road crossing has a history of near misses and at least 6 train/vehicle collisions have occurred at the crossing since 1985. After a truck driver was killed in a train/truck collision in February 2001, the crossing finally has gates and lights for warning devices.
Mr. Matthews brought actions against his employer Amtrak under the FELA claiming that Amtrak negligently failed to provide him with a safe place to work, that Amtrak has a duty to warn its employees of dangerous and defective working conditions, and that Amtrak knew the crossing was extra hazardous. As a result of this defective crossing, Mr. Matthews had to undergo two surgeries: an anterior cervical fusion at two disc levels and right shoulder arthroscopy. Due to this accident, Mr. Matthews became vocationally impaired and lost his career as an engineer with his doctors requiring that Mr. Matthews be retired on medical grounds forever. Trial of this matter was scheduled to begin but a settlement was reached at an attorneys’ conference before trial. Mr. Matthews received a total of $1,000,017.00 from the railroad and the trucking company.
Plaintiff’s Experts: Charles G. Miller, vocational rehabilitation, James T. Lindley, economist, and William E. Gordon, Railroad Safety Specialist. Oran Wayne Matthews v. Amtrak, et al, Circuit Court of Hinds County (MS), Cause No. 251-00-1025CW. Benjamin B. Saunders, Designated Legal Counsel for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, New Orleans (Metairie), LA for the Plaintiff. Charles T. Ozier, Jackson, MS for the Defendant Amtrak.