» Jefferson County Award to Railroad Worker May Set Record

Jefferson County Award to Railroad Worker May Set Record

St. Peters, MO (Law Firm Newswire) March 14, 2014 - A Missouri conductor lost his leg when he was struck by a BNSF Railway train. Now, his resulting court award may the largest on record in Jefferson County.

One never hears about the majority of workplace injuries, and most are settled quietly and equitably. But some cases depart from routine, drawing major media attention. Recently, a Jefferson County jury awarded what may be the largest personal injury verdict in county history.

The case reached court on January 21, 2014, centering on a railroad worker whose right leg was amputated after it was run over by a train. The jury took about two hours to deliberate before delivering a unanimous verdict and awarding $12.5 million to Michael Bolen, 51, of Jackson, Missouri. Bolen, formerly a conductor/switchman for BNSF Railway, said that he stumbled over a boulder in an area adjacent to the tracks and was unable to avoid a slow-moving train that struck him.

According to Bolen’s attorney, the railroad attempted to settle the case for $400,000 before the trial. At trial, Bolen’s attorney sought minimum damages of $10.5 million. The plaintiff argued that railroad negligence contributed to the accident and demonstrated that unsafe working conditions existed when Bolen, an ex-Marine, was injured.

At trial, BNSF argued that Bolen was lying about the circumstances of the accident and the sequence of events. The company hired engineers to disprove Bolen’s story through mechanical calculations and computer animations; they claimed that the accident was not physically possible as the plaintiff described it. The company also tried to dilute Bolen’s claim for lost wages, calling a witness who stated that Bolen could get a better job than the car wash employment he said he could now sustain.

“Employers will assemble an array of experts to impress a jury with their technical expertise in an attempt to convince them that a plaintiff must be wrong,” said Charles James, a prominent Missouri work injury attorney. “The ultimate objective is to tamp down or even eliminate damages.”

But the jury did not agree with the defense's assessment, and the $12.5 million award will help Bolen to recover from his losses.

James Law Group, LLC
14 Richmond Center Court
St. Peters, MO 63376

Phone: 636.397.2411
Toll Free: 800.229.7112



  • Sponsorship of Columbia Youth Basketball
    We are proud to announce that James Law Group, LLC has become a sponsor for the Columbia Youth Basketball Association. The Columbia Youth Basketball Association is celebrating its 22nd season in recreational youth basketball. CYBA strives to provide a resource for Columbia and Boone County children to play basketball regardless of financial means in an […]
  • Columbia Office
    James Law Group is proud to announce the opening of our second location in Columbia, Missouri. With offices in St. Peters and Columbia, we look forward to being able to better serve our clients’ legal needs throughout eastern and central Missouri. Columbia Office has a location that is easy to find. We are on Stadium […]
  • Case before Supreme Court
    Firm partner, John James, to argue a case before the Missouri Supreme Court in April, 2015 regarding a police officer’s immunity from a law suit under State and Federal law. Plaintiff has alleged that the police officer provided false and misleading information to the prosecutor and the court, which resulted in her arrest and prosecution.
  • Missouri bans deadly highway guardrail
    The Missouri Department of Transportation has banned a type of highway guardrail implicated in the deaths of at least 14 motorists, including one Missouri man. Missouri resident Brad Abeln was killed in January after another driver swerved and pushed him into the guardrail. According to whistleblowers, the faulty guardrail contains a steel bar that should […]
  • This Thanksgiving, stay safe on Black Wednesday
    Most Americans know about Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers hit the malls and online stores to pick up huge savings on their Christmas shopping. Fewer Americans are aware of Black Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving. The term originated in the hospitality industry in reference to the packed bars that characterize […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,

Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required