Railroad worker who lost arm in accident files suit

He claims negligence during December snowstorm
A locomotive is seen in December at the scene of an accident in which Pan Am Railways worker Matthew W. Larson lost his arm.
A locomotive is seen in December at the scene of an accident in which Pan Am Railways worker Matthew W. Larson lost his arm.

SCHENECTADY — A railroad worker who lost his arm in a December accident in Glenville is now suing his employer, claiming negligence. 

Matthew W. Larson, 22, of Rensselaer County filed the suit recently in Schenectady County through his attorneys.

Larson, working as a conductor for Pan Am Railways, lost his left arm below the shoulder after being knocked from a locomotive by an object believed to be a tree limb during a Dec. 15 snowstorm, according to the suit.

Larson is claiming negligence in clearing the area of objects that could pull individuals from trains, failing to warn him of dangerous conditions and failing to suspend operations due to poor weather conditions and visibility, the suit reads.

He’s underwent hospital and medical care since and will have to undergo future surgeries, have a prosthetic left arm and receive training to use the arm, the suit reads.

Contacted Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Pan Am Railways declined to comment, citing a policy against commenting on ongoing litigation.

Attorneys representing Larson could not be reached.

Local police responded just before 5 a.m. that morning for a report of a railroad employee whose arm had gone across a rail where the train ran it over. The initial report indicated that the man had slipped on ice, Glenville police said then.

The incident happened near the Glenville Industrial Park, off Route 5. The Pan Am police were to handle the investigation, Glenville police said. The suit identifies Larson as living in Rensselaer County. Glenville police identified the employee at the time as from Mechanicville.

According to the lawsuit, Larson worked that night out of Rotterdam Junction. As the train approached the switch from the Scotia Yard to the main line, Larson gave a countdown of cars to signal the engineer to stop the engine. Conditions included darkness and heavy snow with large snowflakes offering “extremely poor” visibility, the suit reads.

Larson had proper contact with the locomotive and a lantern through his left arm. The train traveled about 7 mph at a slight curve. The object then knocked Larson from the locomotive, resulting in his amputated arm, the suit reads.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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