A Caroline County man was left permanently disabled in a rail yard accident in 2009 while working for the Maryland & Delaware Railroad Company. A wrench he was using “exploded” in his hands, which caused him to fall and injure his back. The injury to his back resulted in him not being able to move his legs. The worker, Michael A. Blades, required a “spinal stimulator implanted as a result of the fall” and he can no longer work. The metal making up the wrench was “breaking down” and “bowed or U-shaped” instead of straight. Blades had asked his general manager for help and to see if he could use a newer wrench, but the manager declined.
After Blades suffered his injury, the general manager put the wrench back together and had a “younger and more able-bodied” worker finish the job. However, the wrench broke again, but no one was injured. Blades worked for the company for another year after the accident before being fired and losing his medical coverage.
All parties involved agreed to mediation where both sides came to an agreement on a $2.5 million settlement. Blades’ attorneys successfully argued that the company was at fault for forcing a handicapped man to do physical labor beyond his capability and with a defective wrench.
Railroad workers are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they are covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which compensates railroad workers who are injured on the job and cannot return to work.
If you or someone you love has sustained a work injury in Maryland, or would like more information on workers compensation, please call us at (301) 854-9000 for a free consultation or visit us online at: http://www.portnerandshure.com/Workers-Compensation/Permanent-Total-Disability.shtml