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Seeking Justice in Work Injury Cases is a Long and Tedious Road

Steve Wagner

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) slapped a fine of $1.1 million on the Norfolk Southern Railway Co. The railroad will have to split this payment between three of its employees. The employees in question had reported injuries that arose while on the job. The railroad, far from providing assistance, fired them from their positions for lodging the complaint.

One of the victims, a crane operator in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was hurt in 2010 as some metal shavings flew into his eye during his shift. The railroad however, accused him of filing a false report and trying to pass off an injury that arose outside work as having occurred while at work, and dismissed him from employment. The other two victims, a Pennsylvania based welder and welder’s assistant, suffered from a similar fate on reporting work injuries.

OSHA’s investigations into these episodes reveal the company having violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act. OSHA passed an order awarding the Indiana crane operator $438,000 in punitive damages and back wages, and also required Norfolk Southern to reinstate the employee back to his old position, with all vacation time and accrued sick days restored. OSHA awarded the other two victims $684,000.

This incident is telling on the state of workplace injuries. The law ensures that workers are entitled for compensation if they suffer injuries as part of their job. However, many employers are reluctant to provide compensation or workplace injury benefits to their employees, due the heavy financial outflow such benefits would cause.

OSHA’s verdict, incidentally, is not the final one. Norfolk Southern has already decided to appeal the decision to the administrative law judge, accusing OSHA of conducting a flawed process to reach their conclusions. An adverse ruling by the administrative law judge does not guarantee settlement, as it may even lead to further appeals.

For victims of such injustice, it can require a lengthy and exhausting legal battle to attain justice. Only a skilled and experienced Indiana work injury accident attorney, familiar with court proceedings, and well versed in all the aspects of the law can counter the case brought on by the defendants. Wagner Reese has a team of work accident attorneys who will pursue your case aggressively to ensure you get justice.

For more information on how we can assist you, contact us at (888) 204-8440 for a free case evaluation.


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