A Union Pacific train conductor has been awarded over $900K in a FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act) lawsuit stemming from a 2010 derailment that left the man injured and unable to return to work.



The plaintiff in the case, Loren Sweley, age 68, was working as conductor of a Union Pacific train in January of 2010. The train was traveling at nearly 50 mph when it struck a bulldozer that was impeding the tracks as part of a night time construction project on the unlighted tracks. The impact caused the train to derail and caused Sweley and the train’s engineer to suffer significant injuries.

The lawsuit contained to following description of the accident:

“Suddenly and without any verbal or written warning or track warrant warning of any work being performed in the Columbus Yard, a heavy piece of equipment in the form of a dozer suddenly appeared through the fog straddling the main line track directly in front of the train… There was no time to slow the train and it crashed into the dozer resulting in injury and damage.”

Both men were trapped in the train’s wreckage and had to be extricated. The injured engineer, who also filed a claim, later settled his claims with Union Pacific out of court. According to Sweley’s attorney, Randy LeNeave, the train conductor suffered severe and permanent injuries to his spine that required extensive surgery, fusing several of Sweley’s vertebrate, and keeps him from returning to work.

“It was terribly traumatic and caused career-ending injuries,” said LeNeave.

Sweley filed suit for pain and suffering, medical expenses, legal fees, and for the loss of his ability to earn an income. He has not returned to work.

Despite the incident occurring over four years ago, the case only just went to trial in October. After only three days of trial in a Douglas County District Court and four hours of jury deliberation, Sweley was awarded a judgment of over $900,000.

Civil action over personal injury litigation is a major issue for many railroads. At Union Pacific, the company paid out nearly $89 million in personal injury claims in 2013, according to SEC filings.

FELA Lawsuit Funding Helps Plaintiffs

While Sweley was able to realize a fair judgment in his case, the long run time of the case meant he had to wait over four years to receive compensation.

In that time, Sweley’s medical and daily living expenses continued to grow while he waited and hoped for successful outcome. Securing FELA lawsuit funding in a case like this can help a plaintiff shoulder the financial burden of a lengthy civil proceeding.

Lawsuit funding provides a cash advance for plaintiffs in a variety of civil proceedings, including FELA lawsuits, to help them through the financial hardships of an extended court battle. Lawsuit funding is not a traditional loan, so considerations like credit or employment history are not a factor. The only concern for a settlement funding lender is the strength of a case.

Acquiring FELA lawsuit funding requires no upfront fees and cash provided can be accessed in as little as 24-hours. And unlike traditional loans, the borrower of lawsuit funding is not required to pay anything until a judgment is rendered or a settlement is reached between the parties. Should the plaintiff lose their suit, no repayment is required.

For those involved in FELA lawsuits, securing lawsuit funding could help you outlast and receive a better judgment or more substantial settlement. A FELA lawsuit can put a serious strain on your finances; get help with lawsuit funding.