Former Amtrak electrician says company at fault for career-ending hand injuries

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 18, 2017


PHILADELPHIA – An Amtrak electrician has alleged the train transportation company violated the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) by not providing a safe workplace, and causing an electricity accident that left him with severe, career-ending injuries to his right hand.

Barry VanSant of Hockessin, Del. filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 8 versus National Railroad Passenger Corporation (doing business as “Amtrak”), of Philadelphia.

On Oct. 8, 2014, VanSant was working at the Wilmington Shops and tightening a bolt on a German Siemen locomotive when the wrench slipped off the bolt head, causing his right hand to strike a high-voltage lead, and sustain severe injuries to his right hand. 

The lawsuit says VanSant was required to work in an extremely tight, poorly-lit area and was not provided with the proper (metric) tools to perform his work assignments, and as a result of the accident, VanSant states he suffered career-ending injuries to his right hand.

After being observed for medical treatment and beginning physical therapy, VanSant returned to work, but continued to suffer lingering injuries from the accident, the lawsuit says. This resulted in the plaintiff being diagnosed with broken metacarpals and torn ligaments in his hand, in the process beginning more medical treatment, the lawsuit says.

VanSant was recommended for a light-duty work schedule and continued physical therapy, but the plaintiff says he continued to face issues stemming from the accident. It was later learned in 2016 that VanSant had primary osteoarthritis in his right hand (aggravated by work activities) and degenerative joint disease of the MP joints, the lawsuit says.

VanSant, who has not worked as an Amtrak electrician since Feb. 2, 2016, believes Amtrak violated FELA by negligently failing to provide a safe and injury-free work environment, proper tools among other professional failures.

For one count of FELA violation, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, fees and such other and further relief the Court and jury shall deem appropriate.

The plaintiff is represented by William L. Myers Jr. of The Myers Firm, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170900608

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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