Montana Jury Awards $2M in Injury Lawsuit Against Railroad

September 2, 2011

A jury has awarded a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway employee $2 million in a lawsuit over a 2001 back injury that required surgery and causes chronic pain.

The jury returned the verdict Friday after a trial before District Judge Gregory Todd.

Attorney Russell Yerger says Chad Silliker was working in Whitefish in September 2001 when he tripped on a radio handset cord and fell down three steps. Silliker sued BNSF in 2007.

Before trial, Todd ruled the railroad could not argue that Silliker contributed to his injury because a trainmaster inadvertently threw away the handset in the years between the injury and when the lawsuit was filed.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says the railroad was disappointed in the outcome and will look into possible remedies.

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