Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Railroad & Train Accidents

Railroad accidents usually consist of derailments, collisions with passenger vehicles, collisions with other trains, or accidents due to mechanical failure. Often it is the railroads’ negligence or the operator's negligence that leads to these accidents, which means they could have been potentially avoided had the railroad acted properly. Railroad accidents also occasionally result in hazardous material spills.

Railroad Workers & FELA
Iin 1908 Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (known as "FELA") for the protection of the thousands of railroad workers employed nationwide. FELA established and continues to provide a federal system of legal recovery for for injuries suffered by the railroad worker while on the job. Almost any worker employed by a railroad company will be protected under FELA if they are injured on the job, including those whose primary duties are not performed in or around trains. FELA provides railroad companies and employers with a uniform liability standard when it comes to working conditions and employee safety on the job.
Under FELA, railroad companies and employers owe railroad workers a number of duties, the violation of which can result in a finding of liability under FELA. These include the duty to:
  • Provide reasonably safe work environment, equipment, tools, and safety devices;
  • Inspect the work environment to ensure it is free of hazards;
  • Provide adequate training, supervision, assistance, and help to employees in their job functions;
  • Ensure workers are safe from harmful intentional acts of others;
  • Enforce safety rules and regulations;
  • Prevent use of unreasonable work quotas
FELA provides a federal remedy for injured railroad workers, but it also serves as a kind of guideline for railroad employment safety standards. For example, if a railroad is found to have violated federal standards pertaining to workplace safety, set out in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, the Boiler Inspection Act, and the Safety Appliance Act, an injured railroad worker and his or her attorney will have a much easier time proving their case. All that needs to be shown is that the law in question was violated and that the railroad worker was injured.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while employed as a railroad worker, it is important that you understand your legal right to receive compensation for those injuries under FELA. Contact Brent M. Cordell for a free consultation. We will use our experience, knowledge and resources to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.