Arm Amputation on Railway Attributed to Negligence

The allegation of negligence plays the central role in a recent lawsuit brought against Pan Am Railways. Matthew Larson brought the suit against his former employer, Pan Am Railways, claiming that their negligence is directly responsible for him losing his arm.

On the night of December 15, Larson was signaling a countdown of cars so that the engineer would know when to stop. The process involved Larson holding a lantern with his left arm while maintaining contact with the locomotive. As the train came around a slight curve, an unidentified object knocked Larson from the train, causing him to fall in such a way that his arm fell across the tracks. The train, which was traveling roughly seven miles per hour, amputated Larson’s arm just below the shoulder.

The suit alleges that Pan Am failed to clear objects that could pull an individual from a train out of the area of the train’s path—such as tree limbs, which is what purportedly knocked Larson from the train. Additionally, Pan Am is accused of failing to warn Larson of the dangerous conditions and of not suspending work due to those conditions, which included darkness and heavy snowfall that resulted in extremely poor visibility, reads the suit.

Larson was transported to a hospital for emergency care, but will have to undergo more surgeries, be outfitted with a prosthetic left arm, and receive training to use the arm. The suit describes Larson as a “strong able-bodied man” who is 22 years of age. The suit also states that “by reason of his injures, [Larson] lost considerable time from his regular occupation” and will likely not be able to return to employment with Pan Am. Larson is seeking unspecified monetary compensation. So far, Pan Am has not released a statement, citing a company policy against commenting on current litigation.

The accident happened in Glenville, New York, near the Glenville Industrial Park off Route 5. The Glenville police reported that the Pan Am police would be handling the investigation. The initial police report stated that Larson had slipped on ice rather than having been knocked from the train.