Case Results

Poolson | Oden Railroad & Serious Injury Attorneys has decades of experience litigating railroad injuries and personal injury cases throughout the Gulf South and nationwide. Our record demonstrates our commitment and dedication to our clients. 

$7,510,00.00 Rigging Grip Electrical and Burn Injury Settlement

P|O represented a rigging grip for a movie production team filming in New Orleans. Our client suffered an electric shock while de-rigging a set during the New Orleans shoot. As a result, our client suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body, which required numerous surgeries and skin grafts, and his right foot had to be amputated. Our client’s chance of survival was merely 2%. After filing suit and briefing numerous discovery and substantive legal issues, including removal from Orleans Parish Civil District Court (state court) to United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (federal court), remand back to Orleans Parish Civil District Court (state court) that took more than one (1) year, despite facing a summary judgment motion on the Statutory Employer Defense that could have dismissed the case, entirely, PO was able to navigate this Complicated Case and successfully negotiate a settlement for our very deserving client.

Human response to electrical contact is widely varied. Injuries from electric shock may be thought of as either primary or secondary. Primary injuries occur because current has passed through the body and has had an impact on the tissues. Secondary injury can result when one struggles to get away from the source of the shock. In summary, the typical electrical injury may be characterized as being burns caused by electrical tissue heating with most likely injury at the skin surface. Secondary injuries from trying to escape the source of the current follow when one is drawn into the area of the shock by involuntary muscle contraction.

In our practice, we have seen explosions and burn injuries, including death, during the following:


  1. Crossing collisions with vehicles or trucks carrying explosive liquidsTrains derailing and catching fire

  2. Electrocution from working too close to power lines

  3. Electrical injuries

  4. Acid and chemical burns from leaking tank cars or cleaning locomotives

  5. Engine fires

  6. Faulty equipment

These types of incidents can lead to severe burn injuries requiring extensive and painful treatment with laser surgeries, skin grafts, removal of the dead skin, and possible amputation of the burned limb. Our firm has handled these types of accidents and injuries and understands from working with burn victims, their doctors, and their families the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of these injuries.

At Poolson | Oden, we understand how much has been taken away and how much you and your family are going through dealing with a life-altering injury or death of a family member due to a burn injury or explosion. We want to help you assemble the best team of medical experts to hold the railroad or others responsible for these devastating injuries.

$5,750,000 Railroad Burn
Death Result

A husband, father of two sons, and railroad conductor lost his life after the train he was working on collided with a gasoline truck in Chalmette, Louisiana. The train wreck resulted in a massive explosion causing third-degree burns over his entire body. Suffering for 10 hours before his death, this husband and father never made it back home from his railroading work that day. His widowed wife and sons brought wrongful death and survival actions against the railroad, the trucking company, and the companies in charge of the highway design. The settlement obtained in the case provided the railroad conductor’s widow and sons the wages and benefits he would have earned over the rest of his railroad career.

For Carisa Oden, the magnitude of this railroad worker losing his life while working a job that he loved fueled her desire to earn her law degree to continue protecting railroad workers and their families.  When Carisa started working on this case as a paralegal and then as a law clerk during law school, she was tasked with evaluating the life of her husband, father, and railroad worker.  Her research and work on this case helped compensate the widow and her sons after their father’s untimely death.  Once Carisa became an attorney, she helped finalize the settlement for this railroader’s family.  After spending 17 years at her previous firm, Carisa opened Poolson | Oden with her partner Danny Poolson to focus on the lives of railroad workers and helping those workers and their families through the most difficult of situations imaginable.*

Railroad Burn Death
$5,000,000 Wrongful
Death Verdict

A father lost his daughter in Louisiana’s pedestrian/motor vehicle accident. The Louisiana Democratic party sent a young worker to walk dangerous rural roads and knock on doors to encourage residents to vote for a candidate.  The Democratic party made no efforts to determine if the road was safe for pedestrians. Despite a $20 million campaign budget, the Democratic party refused to purchase high-visibility vests, also known as personal protective equipment (PPE).  

The accident happened when a distracted, intoxicated, and impaired driver drove 12-18 inches off the roadway striking the young worker in the back.  The Democratic Party blamed the death entirely on the truck driver, who had narcotic medication in her system. The jury ultimately disagreed, returning a verdict of $5,000,000, holding the Democratic Party partially responsible for the young worker’s death. Following the ruling, the victim’s father was able to purchase a family home where the father’s three other children and their children could spend time together as a family.*

Railroad wrongful death
$4,000,000 Burn Death
Explosion Result

A 40-year-old father and Jones Act seaman lost his life when the offshore diving vessel he was working on as a chief engineer exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. His family brought wrongful death and survival actions against the owner of the vessel and the seaman’s employer. The engineer miraculously survived the explosion but suffered for 38 hours before dying from his burn injuries at the Baton Rouge Burn Unit. It was discovered during the case that the seaman’s employer had violated several federal regulations during the pipe project where the Jones Act seaman was a part of the crew. A settlement was reached before trial helping the seaman’s only son buy a family home and car.*

$2,200,000 Highway Car Accident Settlement

A husband and father were involved in an accident when another driver pulled out in front of him on a busy highway. The injured driver suffered foot and ankle injuries requiring multiple ankle surgeries. The case, pending in Dallas County, Texas, was settled following mediation before trial. With the settlement, the injured driver could buy a family home and provide for his family the wages lost due to the accident.*

$2,200,000.00 Dually Certified Railroad Engineer/Conductor Low Back Injury Settlement

In August, 2019, a dually certified Engineer/Conductor for a short line railroad was working in a carbon black plant.  As part of his job duties as a conductor, he spotted hopper cars on the ground.  

Railroad crews bring railcars into the Plant. The Railroad has a two-man crew consisting of an engineer and a conductor. The engineer operates the engine, and the conductor is responsible for the movement of the railcars. The conductor works mainly on the ground while the engineer must stay with, and operate, the engine. The Plant gives the railroad crews a “switch list”. A switch list is a list of railcars that need to be sorted and moved. The railroad crews sort the railcars and place them in the correct position for the Plant on its industrial track inside the Plant. When the positioning is complete, the railroad crews must tie the handbrakes on the Hopper Cars, which are a type of railcar, so the cars do not move out of position. A hopper car is used to transport carbon black. The handbrake is the round steering wheel shaped piece on the back of the hopper car. When the hopper cars are positioned correctly on the track for the Plant, the conductor climbs on each car using the ladder and tightens or ties down the handbrake so the car will not move.

The Plant wanted certain hopper cars in designated areas, and the Conductor was tying handbrakes on the hopper cars to keep them from moving.  As the Conductor moved from one railcar to the next, the grating beneath his feet collapsed, causing him to fall into the drainage trench, hyperextending his knee and twisting his back.

As the grating failed beneath his feet, the Conductor felt pain immediately in his right knee and back.  The next day, the Conductor woke up with a stiff neck, swollen knee, and he could barely sit up.  The Conductor called his primary care doctor and scheduled an appointment the very next day.  The Conductor was prescribed medications including anti-inflammatories, as well as physical therapy.  As his pain persisted, the Conductor underwent injections in both his right knee and low back.  An MRI of his low back revealed an annular tear at L4-5.  The Conductor then sought treatment from a neurosurgeon, who recommended and performed an anterior lumbar interbody fusion at L4-5 with instrumentation.

As a result of his extensive injuries, the Conductor was entitled compensation under both the FELA and Louisiana general negligence statutes.  In this case, we argued both the Railroad and the Plant were negligent on several counts.  Because the Conductor was unfit to return to his duty, we filed for compensation under several categories of expenses:

Past Lost Wages

Future Lost Earning Capacity

Fringe Benefits

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Past Pain and Suffering

Future Pain and Suffering

Future Medical Expenses

After calculating for the above expenses and arguing on our client’s behalf, we successfully negotiated and settled his case for $2 million. 

If you are ready to discuss your railroad work injury, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are here to help.

Hopper Car

Round Handbrake and Ladder

An illustration of an injured disc with annular tears in the annulus. The image shows a disc with annular tears from an axial or top down view. The black lines are pointing to the area in which the disc annulus is torn.

$1,525,000 Railroad Conductor Brain Injury Result

A husband and father of three sustained an electric shock injury while working as a railroad freight conductor in an auto distribution lot in Louisiana. While trying to throw a switch in the yard, he was shocked by a 7,000-volt electric fence that surrounded the auto facility. He immediately experienced amnesia for almost an hour, and his co-worker engineer observed him acting unusual, shaking, and sweating. Over the next several weeks, the railroad conductor experienced debilitating headaches, nausea, and personality changes. This caused his pregnant wife considerable concern and stress trying to care for her husband and two small children with a third on the way. Eventually, the railroad conductor was admitted to a facility to address his brain injury, being treated in-patient and forced to be away from his family for almost two years.

A lawsuit was filed against his railroad employer, the electric fence company, the parent company of the railroad employer, the auto distribution center, and the on-site security company. Throughout the case, it was found that the fence was not de-energized as required when train crews were working, and the switch was too close to the electric fence. A settlement was reached with all of the Defendants. This settlement helped the railroad conductor continue receiving treatment for his brain injury, helped him get back to his love of riding motorcycles, and helped support his growing family, including helping his wife finish her education.*

$1,515,000 Railroad Bridge Worker Verdict

A railroad bridge worker was injured while renovating a railway bridge in Louisiana when struck by a 1,000-pound railroad wooden timber swung by a track hoe operator. The railroad bridge worker was thrown onto the bridge’s surface, where the railroad timber fell on him, crushing his right leg. Due to his injuries, the railroad bridge worker underwent surgery to fix his crushed leg by inserting a rod and screws into his tibia and fibula. A lawsuit was filed against his railroad employer and the bridge repair contractor. After a three-day trial in federal court in New Orleans, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the railroad bridge worker.*

$1,500,000 Illegal Left
Turn Auto Accident

On her way to work, a home health care nurse was injured in an automobile accident when another vehicle pulled out in front of her after making a left turn across two lanes of travel. After the wreck, the client suffered a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and neck and disc injuries requiring a cervical fusion surgery. The case was pending in Federal District Court, Western District of Louisiana, before being settled at mediation shortly before trial.*

Firm Settles Multi Car Crash Case for $1.35 Million after Winning Summary Judgment at Trial Court

In May, 2018, our client, a wife and mother, was driving down LA 59 in Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana on her way home to her husband and daughter.  At the same time, a Ford F-250 and trailer were traveling in the opposite direction of our client on LA 59.  As our client approached an upcoming intersection, a Large SUV ran a red light and pulled out into the intersection in front of the F-250 and our client.  Although the Ford-250 tried to maneuver around the Large SUV, the Ford-250 struck the Large SUV then continued forward hitting our client head.


Unfortunately, our client suffered injuries to her left knee, low back, shoulders, neck, and head requiring knee surgery, shoulder surgery, lumbar injections, and cervical injections.


Since there were multiple vehicles in the crash, we had to determine which vehicle was at fault.  Through discovery and multiple depositions, we were able to re-create the scene of the crash and successfully win a motion for summary judgment with the Trial Court, which confirmed that only the large SUV caused the accident.  Meaning, only the Large SUV Driver and his insurance company could be on the verdict form submitted to the jury – NOT our client, NOT the F-250, and NOT the DOTD. There could be no comparative fault placed on our client or anyone else at trial.  This was a great victory for our client, and the motion was instrumental in our firm’s ability to settle this case without going to trial.


The settlement afforded our client all the money needed for medical care and treatment, as well as general damages for pain and suffering.

$1,225,000 Illegal Turn Auto Accident Settlement
A casino worker’s mom was injured in an accident when another vehicle made an illegal turn in front of her car, causing a collision.  The other driver admitted she did not see the impaired driver’s vehicle until after the wreck. The investigating officer found that the other driver was driving distracted.

The injured driver had herniated discs at four (4) levels in her neck.  At levels C3-4 and C5-6, the disc herniations were pressing and pinching the spinal nerves.  Ultimately, the client had to undergo three-level cervical fusion surgery on her neck. After her surgery, the client returned to work. The case was settled at mediation. With the settlement, the client could pay all of her medical bills and her daughter’s education.*
$795,000 18-Wheeler
Accident Settlement

Sharon D. was sideswiped by an 18-wheeler traveling at five mph in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The wreck affected Sharon’s everyday life, and she could no longer pick up her grandchildren or participate in social activities. Sharon, who had pre-existing neck and back problems, suffered neck and back, spinal injuries in the wreck, resulting in a three-level cervical fusion. Despite the pain from the impact, Sharon continued to work.  However, the insurance company and 18-wheeler company blamed Sharon for the impact and refused to take responsibility for her injuries because she had prior neck and back treatment, lead trial attorney Danny Poolson was able to settle with the insurance company and the 18-wheeler company shortly before the trial. The case was pending in the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, before it was settled. With the settlement, Sharon was able to pay for her medical treatment, and now she can pick up her grandchildren again!*

$725,000 Oil Field
Accident Settlement

A falling object hit an oil field crew member in the face (“birdie”).  The defendant oil companies argued against the injured worker claiming they were immune from liability under Louisiana’s “statutory employer” doctrine. The “statutory employer” doctrine says that when a well owner hires a company to work at the well, the company’s employees cannot sue the well owner for what the well owner does wrong.  Oil companies bring this up in every case to keep workers out of the courtroom and profit enormously from injured workers. Danny has defeated the “statutory employer” defense, specifically, the “two contract theory.” Under La. R.S. 23:1061, the two-contract theory applies when:

  1. The principal enters into a contract with a third party;
  2. Under that contract, work must be performed; and
  3. To fulfill its contractual obligation to perform the work, the principal enters into a subcontract for all or part of the work performed.

In the injured crew member’s case, a well owner assigned a “company man” to supervise a wellsite.  While operating the site, a pump change was required. The company man hired a subcontractor to perform the pump change.  The injured crew member was a floor hand on the subcontractor’s crew. The company man is supposed to hold a safety meeting to outline the proper job procedure and talk about how to keep workers safe.  The company man did not have the safety meeting. The derrick was unsafe, and a 5-pound object (“birdie”) fell 50 feet to the ground striking the injured crew member in the face.

The oil company asserted the “statutory employer” defense and pointed to contracts between the oil company and crew member’s employer.  For the oil company to successfully maintain the “statutory employer” defense, it needs to show that there was a valid contract. A large settlement for the injured worker and his family was obtained before trial.*

Railroad Oil Field Accident
$600,000 Elbow/Bicep Injury
for Railroad Conductor

Husband and father of three daughters worked as a brakeman performing a railroad switching operation.  While working as a brakeman, he pulled the cut lever of the railcar, which controls the knuckle pin and is part of the coupler apparatus.  The cut lever came part way up and then jammed suddenly.  The railroad brakeman immediately felt a burning pain in his elbow and reported the injury to his conductor.  Several railroad supervisors, including the claims adjuster, came to the accident scene to inspect the equipment before taking the brakeman to the hospital. The individuals participating in the reenactment attempted to uncouple the railcar and had trouble with the cut lever and coupler failing, preventing them from uncoupling it.  After this “reenactment,” the brakeman was allowed to go to the hospital for his injuries.

A lawsuit was filed against his railroad employer for failing to provide the brakeman a safe place to work and requiring him to operate malfunctioning and defective rail equipment. Because of the railroad’s equipment condition, the brakeman sustained injuries to his left elbow and left bicep.  The injuries he sustained required emergency room care and two separate surgeries. A settlement was obtained in the case before trial, and the brakeman and his family continued to receive medical insurance for two years after the settlement.*

$300,000 Big Rig
Accident Settlement

An 18-wheeler sideswiped a driver on Interstate 20. Although there was minimal property damage to the injured driver’s vehicle, the driver suffered neck injuries. Danny and the litigation team obtained a settlement shortly before the trial. The case was pending in Federal District Court, Eastern District of Texas.*

$250,000 Full Policy Limits Rear-End Auto Accident Settlement

A driver was injured in a rear-end accident. The driver injured her neck as a result of the wreck. Although the driver had prior injections in her neck before the collision, a full policy limits settlement was obtained for the claim before a lawsuit was filed.*

$102,045.87 Punitive Award for Locomotive Engineer Return to Work Whistleblower Case

A 19-year career locomotive engineer Jonette N. hurt her neck in a train/truck collision, forcing her to be out of work for almost two years while she was treated for her injuries.  This engineer continually treated to improve and return to engineering with the railroad.  Her treating neurosurgeon noted she was highly motivated to return to work.  While she was treating and recovering from surgery, Jonette N. filed a FELA lawsuit against Amtrak to preserve her rights if she could not return to work.  Unfortunately, the Federal Court presiding over her FELA case dismissed it against the railroad, and Jonette N. never received any money for her case from the railroad.  Despite not having to pay Jonette N., Amtrak management and the claims department decided that they would punish Jonette N. for protecting her rights and would not allow this seasoned railroader back to work. When the treating neurosurgeon eventually decided she had recovered well enough to return to work, Amtrak refused to allow her to do so.

Jonette N. filed a retaliation claim under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (“FRSA”).  A Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge heard the evidence at the trial and decided the case. The Judge explained that the whistleblower law protects railroad workers. If the treating physician says the employee can return to work, the railroad must allow it unless FRA or internal medical standards say otherwise.  Amtrak did not rely on FRA medical standards or any internal medical standards of its own to keep Jonette N. from returning to work. It was purely a tactic to not return an employee who had sustained a personal injury and was trying to return to work. Fortunately, the judge saw through this “disingenuous” defense and ruled in favor of Jonette N. She was able to return to work as a locomotive engineer with her seniority rights, earning a living to provide for her family. Amtrak was required to pay $102,045.87 for its punitive behavior.*




*Prior results don’t guarantee a similar outcome in your claim. This website and blog are for informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice, since only after knowing the details of your claim can any advice be provided. Please understand that particular laws vary by state. You must speak directly with an attorney about your situation to determine what laws apply.

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Poolson Oden is a top law firm in Louisiana, representing clients nationwide in railroad accidents and catastrophic personal injury. As a law firm, our goal is to educate and protect our clients by leading from difficult situations to successful outcomes so our clients can move forward with their lives.

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