$15 Million Jury Verdict for Failure to Enforce Safety Precautions at Light Rail Station

Andrea Laing, 23, was walking northbound along a sidewalk platform at a Portland, Ore., “Max” light rail station. She crossed the eastbound tracks to board a stopped westbound train and was struck by an out-of-service eastbound train that was entering the station.

Laing suffered facial and rib fractures; internal injuries, including injuries that required the removal of her spleen; a severed left leg and skin injuries. Her medical expenses were $800,000 and she missed approximately five months from her job as a retail worker earning $12 per hour.

Laing sued TriMet, the rail system’s operator, and Gabe Sutherland, the train operator of the eastbound train. It was alleged that Sutherland had chosen not to sound a four-second audible warning as the train approached the platform. It was also maintained that Sutherland elected not to apply principles of defensive driving in the operation of the train.

The lawsuit alleged that TriMet had failed to implement recommended safety improvements at the station or install active safety devices, such as flashing lights or metal bars that would guide pedestrians crossing the track and force them to look both ways before crossing.

The defendants argued that Laing had been wearing a hood and ear buds at the time of the incident and had decided not to maintain awareness of her surroundings or take reasonable safety precautions.

The jury signed a verdict for $15 million apportioning liability at 43% to TriMet, 42% to Laing and 15% to Sutherland.

The attorneys successfully handling this case were Randolph Pickett and Sonia Montalbano, both of Portland, Ore.

Laing v. Tri-County Metro. Transportation District of Oregon, No. 17 CV 36490 (Ore. Cir. Ct. Multnomah County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling pedestrian injury lawsuits, catastrophic injury lawsuits, nursing home abuse lawsuits, truck crash cases and product liability injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Wheeling, Waukegan, Naperville, New Lenox, Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Winthrop Harbor, Zion, Aurora, Chicago (Gresham, Kenwood, Bronzeville, West Rogers Park, Jefferson Park, Jackson Park, Washington Park, South Shore, Greek Town, Little Italy, Back of the Yards, Englewood), Lincolnwood, Lansing, Worth, South Holland and Hinsdale, Ill.

Related blog posts:

U.S. Court of Appeals Rejects Res Ipsa Shortcut in Railroad Worker Injury Case

$2.6 Million Verdict for Injured Metro Worker Blamed on Unsafe Equipment

Congress’s 1997 Act Limits Amtrak’s Payout to Crash Victims to $200 Million