Houston Woman Receives Historic $557M Verdict After Train Collision Leaves Her with Catastrophic Injuries
In a landmark case, a Houston woman has been awarded over $500 million after she was hit by a train in a catastrophic collision that caused life-altering injuries back in 2016.
Mary Johnson’s vehicle was struck by a Union Pacific train in downtown Houston on March 5, 2016, causing her to suffer amputations and severe brain injuries. According to her attorneys, the train operators could have avoided the collision if they had followed federal safety regulations, including ensuring that the lights on the locomotive were bright enough to illuminate a person on the tracks 800 feet ahead.
During the trial, Johnson’s lawyers argued that the train operators failed to adhere to their own safety manual, which requires operators to take the safe course in case of doubt or uncertainty. The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the operators did not apply the brakes until they were just 50 feet from Johnson’s vehicle.
After considering the evidence, the jury found Union Pacific to be 80% liable for the collision and awarded Johnson a historic $500 million in punitive damages. The verdict came just a week after a high-profile Union Pacific derailment in Nebraska, and at a time when the rail industry is facing increased scrutiny following the East Palestine, Ohio toxic incident.
“Railroad companies like Union Pacific have a responsibility to operate safely and prevent preventable disasters,” said Johnson’s attorneys. “This $557 million verdict sends a powerful message that rail operators are ultimately liable for the costs associated with their negligence.”
The award marks one of the largest personal injury verdicts in history and sets a new precedent for holding railroad companies accountable for accidents that could have been prevented. Mary Johnson can now begin to rebuild her life with the compensation she deserves.