I Sued the Railroad. Think I Won?

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I’ve written about my 1979 car/train collision, which is part of my memory bank that becomes revisited from time to time. Especially when June 15 of each year rolls around! Here’s a bit more about the story.  While hospitalized following surgery on my head and on my right arm, I was administered an IV bag that did not have my name on it. 

Image result for plastic bracelet hospitalMy maiden name is Prochnow NOT the name written on the bag. My mom caught the error after inspecting what was all hooked up to me (I was still unconscious) and reported it to a staff nurse.  The name on one of the IV bags was that of the male driver of the car I was in that slammed into a parked train; also an inpatient in a room down the hall. Thank goodness the IV bag contained only Lasix! How could a nurse hook me up without checking my name? Yes, we had plastic id bracelets back then! No harm done. Thank you mom!

Recently, I was driving alone, and coming upon railroad tracks noticed the crossbar was malfunctioning. It was going up/and down over and over.  At this crossing (near EFCO), the lights were not flashing and I did not see any train approaching from either direction.  The bars were out of whack! Trust, me I did not see a train approaching this dayHowever, a foolish driver drove around the gates and over the multiple crossings.

I did however see the 800 number to call the Union Pacific Railroad, because it was quite apparent the gates were malfunctioning every 60 seconds or so. To fulfill my civic duty, I dialed (after crossing the tracks and pulling over near the swans’ nest) and a man actually answered! I informed the railroad worker of the situation, he thanked me and I went on my merry way.  I do not care for railroad tracks when there’s a train approaching but you can’t see it yet…gives me the chills! But I did my part to help others.

I actually felt odd, even telling my mother of the situation and call as maybe this was some sort of healthy release to my own personal lawsuit. Read on please!   

The irony of me reporting a problem with a railroad crossing is that one reason for the lawsuit my family and I filed following the 1979 car/train collision against RIRR was the fact that the cross buck at the crossing near the high school at the site and time of the accident I incurred was missing.  Yes, the cross buck, the two signs that cross at the top, was gone, perhaps some kid had stolen it?

During the trial (Hardin County Courthouse in Eldora), besides that fact this railroad maintenance error was swept under the rug, somehow, we (my entire family) knew a member of the jury. She was the sister of a long time neighbor we had several ties with while growing up in the 60s-70s. I was best friend’s for many years with the woman juror’s sister daughter, as was my sister with a second daughter (make sense?).  

Anyway, my family and I did not win anything in the lawsuit. Not a cent. Have I ever shown you my scars? You may be impressed!  We definitely should have been awarded something. I sure wish my story had been revealed, and wonder what may have happened if so. I was only 15 years old…..and my serious injuries did impact my life going forward seriously. I felt so odd and was stared at when I returned to school that Fall. I ultimately ended up dropping out of high school in November 1979.

An injury comes with costs, no matter the situation, and a story that explains the situation from a personal point of view, and one that matters is fundamentally necessary for you and your client.  If you need a personal story about your client, for the jury and the judge to read, let me help.  Contact me for more information. You’ll find I care a lot, especially if justice is lacking.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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