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Railroad Injury Law Blog

Railroad accidents may be caused by failures to comply

Connecticut and all other states have compliance regulations that govern railroad work. In 2016, a horrendous crash took place when a locomotive barreling along the tracks at close to 100 mph slammed into a backhoe, resulting in many injuries and several fatalities. Results from a post-accident investigation were recently published, showing that failure to comply with safety regulations was a major factor in the collision. Workers injured in railroad accidents caused by employer negligence are protected under the Federal Employers Liability Act with the right to sue their employers.

In last year's tragedy, which took place in another state, two people died, one of whom was a railroad supervisor who was standing nearby the tracks when the train hit the vehicle. Investigators say there were many safety infractions leading up to the crash. Officials also say railroad workers were not in possession of the proper safety equipment for the area at the time the accident took place.

Tracking railroad safety and tips for how to avoid accidents

If you work on a Connecticut railroad, you may already be aware that there are enough railroad tracks laid in the United States to encircle the earth -- eight times. Whether you work on a freight train or one that carries daily commuters and other passengers, you know there is always a risk involved when working on or traveling by locomotive. The question is how to keep collision risks as low as possible. It's also important that you know where to seek support if your job causes you injury.

There are several measures railroad companies can take to improve their employees' likelihoods of avoiding collisions. Modern technology allows certain types of checks and balances that weren't possible years ago. If you're aware of theseĀ helpful tools and you know how to access help if a problem arises, you can stay one step ahead of the game.

Protection for workers injured in railroad accidents

Working on a Connecticut railroad (or one in any other state in the nation) can be extremely dangerous. In fact, railroad work is often considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. Any train worker, from a lineman to a conductor or engineer, is at risk for injury, especially if proper training is not provided or employers fail to adhere to railroad safety regulations. Railroad accidents often result in catastrophic injuries; that's why it's important for workers and their families to understand the Federal Employers Liability Act.

FELA protects injured railroad workers with the right to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers if employer negligence is believed to be a causal factor in a particular incident. Employees in most other industries are often eligible for workers' compensation but are not able to file personal injury claims against their employers. However, navigating the FELA process can be stressful. Any number of obstacles can arise that may delay or impede an injured worker's ability to obtain compensation for damages in court.

Stats re railroad accidents mark one crossing highly dangerous

Working on the railroad or traveling by train can be risky at times. Connecticut is no stranger to railroad accidents, which often cause catastrophic injuries to those involved. Another state, however, has been included on a list of the most dangerous railroad crossings in the nation.

Over the span of three decades, there have been 34 major train crashes at this particular crossroads. A railroad safety analyst said the crossing is in good standing regarding compliance with federal regulations. The problem seems to stem, however, from various topographical issues in the surrounding area.

Town considers closing crossings to prevent railroad accidents

Train track crossings are some of the most dangerous places on our nation's roadways, and they are often the scenes of collisions involving locomotives and motor vehicles. There have been some very serious railroad accidents in recent months throughout the country. An official spokesperson for a town outside Connecticut said the town is considering closing two of its four railroad crossings to decrease community dangers.

The town supervisor said he often witnesses people rushing across the train tracks, often without apparent caution as to whether there may be approaching trains. He said he realizes railroad crossings can never be fully safety proofed; however, he also thinks shutting down two of the fours crossings in the town will help improve safety for travelers and railroad workers. The town currently faces a potential loss of $120 million for damages following a serious train crash in 2015.

Similar railroad accidents in Connecticut have led to litigation

A terrible accident occurred in another state that involved railroad workers and automobile travelers. Railroad accidents in Connecticut and elsewhere often result in fatalities. Thankfully, everyone survived this collision although several people, including railroad workers, were injured.

It was just after 4:15 p.m. when a locomotive and a car collided at a railroad crossing. Officials say this particular crossing is secured with traffic signals. Just before the crash, witnesses say two railroad workers who were standing nearby yelled for an oncoming vehicle to stop.

Illegal drug use suspected factor in many railroad accidents

Last year, a railroad tragedy occurred in another state that prompted safety advocates to pursue changes in railway commercial transportation laws regarding drug tests for employees. That's because three of the railroad employees involved in that particular collision tested positive for marijuana and other controlled substances. Studies show an increased amount of railroad accidents in recent years have included illegal drug use in workers as prominent factors. Those who travel by train in Connecticut may want to pay close attention this issue.

The 2016 collision occurred when a train traveling over 100 miles per hour smashed into a backhoe. The 47-year-old engineer was taken to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries, as were 40 people on board the train at the time. Sadly, however, two Amtrak maintenance workers who were struck by the barreling locomotive did not survive their injuries.

These tips may help keep you safe on the railroad

Working on a Connecticut railroad can be a rewarding experience. Many workers enjoy long and happy careers. Perhaps you're among them. You may have loved trains since you were a child and set your sights early upon growing up and working on "real" trains. The toy trains you played with on your living room floor, however, were no doubt much safer than the ones you work on in adulthood.

Whether employed by the railroad, riding as a passenger or simply driving or walking near tracks, there is always a risk for injury. As a paid worker, you hopefully have been given appropriate training and provided with proper safety equipment to lower your risk for an accident injury.

After a century, has risk of railroad accidents decreased?

Connecticut residents who earn their livings on the railroad are always at risk for injury. Those who travel by train as passengers are as well. However, many railroad accidents involve nearby motorists, and revisiting a story of a tragedy that occurred 100 years ago begs the question whether workers, passengers or other travelers are any safer today than they were then.

Family members of fatal victims of a particular train collision recently gathered at the cemetery where their loved ones are buried to honor their memories. The incident occurred in 1917 but remains relevant today as many people still travel by train, work for railroad companies and drive cars in areas where active railroads exist. The relatives of the victims who came together by their graves say their ancestors were merely riding back home after a harvest festival when a locomotive smashed into their vehicle.

Sudden impact or repeated stress re railroad worker injuries

Those who work on Connecticut railroads often perform the same duties every day. Others have jobs where tasks and schedules fluctuate. In either circumstance, there are typically good days and bad days; bad ones often arise when railroad worker injuries occur. Achieving full recovery often hinges upon the knowledge an injured worker had ahead of time regarding the types of injuries common to railroad workers and where to turn for help when needed.

Sadly, many railroad accidents are fatal. However, it's often a relief to grieving families when they learn that they are able to seek wrongful death accountability against their deceased loved ones' employers when negligence is deemed to have been a causal factor in their family members' deaths. This is because the Federal Employers Liability Act allows railroad workers injured by employer negligence to file personal injury claims in civil court (a process not typically available to workers in other industries).