FELA – Maintenance worker says railroad negligently maintained and designed work truck.
Krissman & Silver LLP by Jarod Krissman and Ian Deady, Long Beach.
Kaplan Law Corporation by Jay Kaplan, Los Angeles.
Flesher Schaff & Schroeder, Inc. by Jacob Flesher and Brittany Johnson, Rocklin.
Ramy Elias, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
Michael Klein. M.D., orthopedic surgery.
John Cole, PE, mechanical engineering/fire investigation.
Plaintiff, a 32-year-old maintenance of way worker, and his foreman were directed to move a piece of rail with a BNSF boom truck. Shortly after turning on the truck's hydraulic system, a loud noise sounded from behind the cab and the truck quickly became engulfed in fire.
Plaintiff, sitting passenger, could not exit the truck out the passenger door, which was on fire. In moving across the truck to exit via the driver-side door, his foot caught something in the center console, which caused him to fall out of the truck to the ground below. He sustained multiple orthopedic injuries.
That the truck fire resulted from a burst hydraulic line located below the truck, which sprayed flammable hydraulic fluid onto the truck's hot exhaust system, the fire's ignition source. That BNSF Railway Company failed to provide him with a reasonably safe place to work and with a reasonably safe boom truck.
Additionally, that the truck's hydraulic system, which the railroad upfitted to the truck, was unsafely designed because it lacked a heat shield between the hydraulic system lines below the truck and the hot exhaust system, a competent ignition source.
BNSF Railway Company alleged the company was not negligent and that the design of the truck's hydraulic system was reasonably safe.
Plaintiff sustained injuries to his left shoulder, left hip and both knees. He has had five operations since the accident.