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High court rules on man's spinal cord injury claim

An injury from a workplace accident can happen suddenly or it can occur over time. In addition, injuries that arise from certain conditions in the workplace sometimes take years to develop. When it comes to receiving monetary compensation, the injured worker has limited time to take legal action. Accordingly, workers should begin exploring their legal options as soon as they are aware that they have sustained an injury.

Recently, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled on a case involving an injured conductor for the CSX transportation company. The employee alleged that he suffered spinal cord injuries during his more than 30-year tenure working for CSX. Specifically, he claimed that the conductor's seats on the trains did not support his back and led to his injuries.

In 2005 and 2008, doctors diagnosed the man with injuries to his vertebrae. Following the 2008 diagnosis, he filed a lawsuit against CSX. Accordingly, the question before West Virginia's high court was whether the employee had filed his lawsuit in a timely manner. The court's resolution of the issue turned on when the employee became aware of his injuries and whether the 2005 and 2008 diagnoses involved the same injury or separate ones.

Ultimately, the court decided against the injured employee. It explained that he failed to prove that his injury happened after September 2007, and thus the statute of limitations barred his lawsuit.

Workplace injuries like the one in this case can leave the employee with a permanent disability and life-altering consequences. An injured employee may require long-term medical care. Therefore, anyone who sustains such an injury may want to take action as quickly as possible to ensure that they can collect the compensation that they deserve.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "CSX conductor waited too long to sue over back pain," John O'Brien, Oct. 3, 2013

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