Workers Say Amtrak Lied After Fatal Wreck

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Amtrak promised but failed to pay medical expenses for two workers hurt in a deadly collision in the Nevada desert, the employees claim in separate federal lawsuits.
     Kurt Krucine and Dionne Willliams-Green sued Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, and John Davis Trucking Co., which owned the truck involved in the collision.
     The California Zephyr, bound from Chicago to California, hit a tractor-trailer at a rail crossing at around 11:30 a.m. in rural Nevada, “causing catastrophic loss of life,” including Amtrak employees, the nearly identical complaints state.
     Krucine’s complaint states: “On the morning of June 24, 2011, the tractor-trailer owned and operated by John Davis, while under the control of an employee and/or agent of defendant John Davis, negligently failed to yield the right of way to the oncoming train on which plaintiff was working. As a direct and proximate result of the tractor-trailer’s negligent failure to yield the right of way, the tractor trailer struck the train on which plaintiff was working, injuring plaintiff.”
     Though the truck caused the collision, Krucine and Williams-Green claim Amtrak is also to blame for placing them in dangerous conditions.
     “As a result, in whole or in part, of the foregoing negligence of defendants Amtrak and UP and their agents in violation of the FELA, a collision was caused to occur as set forth above, causing plaintiff to sustain severe, permanent or disabling physical injuries to his body including his neck; back; knees; the bones, muscles, tissues, ligaments, and internal parts thereof; as well as other bruises, contusions, lacerations, and further injuries to his muscular and skeletal systems; and that plaintiff has suffered in the past and will continue to suffer in the future pain and anguish and loss of enjoyment of life; as well as psychological injuries and that he was otherwise injured and permanently disabled,” Krucine says in his complaint
     Both plaintiffs say they consulted a psychologist to help them deal with the accident, under the assumption that Amtrak would pay for their expenses.
     “In late 2012, plaintiff’s counsel and representatives of defendant Amtrak reached an oral agreement to settle all of plaintiff’s claims arising out of the June 24 collision for a confidential amount of money plus payment of plaintiff’s medical expenses for injuries related to the incident,” Krucine says in his complaint.
     “Based on this agreement, a representative of defendant Amtrak sent plaintiff’s counsel a release for the claims on November 8, 2012, in which she stated ‘Amtrak will pay any medical bills, related to the incident, from the date of the incident … through the settlement date.’ Despite the agreement on payment of medical bills, such payment was not included in the release.
     “As of filing this action, defendant Amtrak has refused to pay the medical bills. On information and belief, said refusal is based on Amtrak’s assertion that is only required to pay ‘usual and customary rates’ as negotiated through a contract with Medical Care Management Corp (MCMC Contract).
     “To the extent that MCMC contract or any other contract defendant Amtrak has with service providers prevents the actual amount of plaintiff’s medical expenses from being paid by defendant Amtrak, as agreed to in the oral settlement agreement, said contracts conflict with FELA and are therefore void pursuant 45 U.S.C. 55.”
     Krucine and Williams-Green seek payment of their medical bills, and damages for negligence, breach of contract and FELA violations.
     They are represented by Ann Osbourne Hall with Bowen & Hall, of Reno.

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