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Jury Awards Injured Engineer $1.9 Million

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A railroad engineer was awarded $1.85 million by a St. Louis County jury for injuries he suffered in a 2010 accident.

Chad Hyman, 42, of Villa Grove, Ill., sued Union Pacific Railroad Company under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

Hyman was operating a locomotive that powered a 75-car freight train on April 16, 2010. The 10,000-ton train became uncoupled from the locomotive and collided with it before the brakes could fully engage. Hyman and other crew members were able to keep the train from derailing.

Hyman suffered head, neck and lower back injuries that required four surgeries. Hyman hasn't been able to return to work. His attorneys said that at best, one day he might be able to return for light duty work, which carries a $20,000 annual salary instead of the $75,000 salary he was earning.

Union Pacific argued over the extent of Hyman's injuries and claimed that the impact of the collision was minimal.

Circuit Court Judge Mark Seigel had already ruled that a safety violation had occurred and that Hyman did not in any way contribute to the accident. With Seigel's ruling, the jury was not asked to consider whether Hyman should receive less than the full amount of the verdict.

Mark Davis, a representative for Union Pacific, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "We respect the jury's verdict. The plaintiff's attorney's settlement demand was $3.25 million and he refused to negotiate."

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