Posted On: January 7, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Union Pacific Worker Can File FELA Lawsuit for Parking Lot Injury, Says Court

A state’s Supreme Court says that a retired Union Pacific worker can obtain work injury compensation for a knee injury he sustained while walking to work from the parking lot. Glenn Holsapple was hurt in April 2006 after he stepped into a pothole. He tore knee cartilage, underwent surgery, and took time off from work to recover.

Following the work accident, Holsapple, then a conductor, filed a FELA claim seeking work injury compensation. Union Pacific, however, argued that it shouldn’t be held liable for the knee injury because the accident happened before Holsapple reported for work.

A judge issued a summary judgment ruling in Union Pacific’s favor. However, the state's Supreme Court says that the railroad company can be held liable for the knee injury because the accident happened during the course of employment, right before work, and on a driveway that employees use to go from the parking lot to the railroad depot. The parking lot is owned by the city.

Holsapple’s FELA attorney, however, says that the only reason his client was in the driveway was because he was headed to his job. He says the railroad company has a responsibility to make sure that the parking lot is a safe premise for its workers.

FELA Lawsuits
Under the Federal Employees Liability Act, railroad workers can collect damages for railroad worker injuries. Compensation can be obtained for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other damages. Unlike Illinois workers’ compensation, which provides work injury benefits but doesn’t allow an injured worker to sue an employer, FELA lets an injured railroad worker sue for damages. However, in order to obtain recovery an injured worker must prove that the work injury was at least partially caused by the railroad company’s negligence.

Neb. high court says UP worker can sue for injury, AP, December 11, 2009

Read the Advance Sheets for the case (PDF)


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