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Ungated Crossing Accident Victim Returns Home After Lengthy Rehab

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Saraland, Alabama – July 9, 2011)

After over 3 ½ months of rehabilitation, the sole survivor of a collision at a Norfolk Southern Railroad crossing that had lights and crossbucks, but lacked crossing gates, returned home Saturday to a massive celebration at her church in Saraland, AL.

Sonnie Hicks, 20, of Satsuma, AL, was riding with her boy friend, 22-year-old Cameron Thompson, about 6:22 P.M. March 22, when his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was struck on the passenger’s side by a Norfolk Southern freight train consisting of two locomotives and 61 cars at the East Bayou Avenue crossing of NS tracks.

After suffering in a hospital for a week, Thompson died of his massive injuries. Sonnie, however, was sent to a rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, GA, after her hospital stabilization and injury treatment in Alabama for a tragedy of which she has no memory. The celebration of her recovery drew hundreds of friends and family members to Saturday’s homecoming at North Mobile Baptist Church.

Pastor Ed Litton said Sonnie’s recovery is a testament to prayer and faith, while Mike Hicks, her father, said “You just can’t say how wonderful, how grateful we are and she’s a walking miracle and we give God the glory!”


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Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

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I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

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Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

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Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

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In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

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