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Railroad Injury Law Blog

Who oversees railroad safety in Connecticut?

The Federal Railroad Administration has a special department known as the "Office of Railroad Safety" that oversees rail system safety throughout the nation. It operates out of eight different regional sites around the country. The office employs 400 safety inspectors and administrators whose responsibilities include making sure railroad companies across the country, including in Connecticut, comply with various regulations and safety standards in order to lower the risk for railroad accidents.  

The inspectors' work is divided into five main safety categories that include motive power and equipment, hazardous materials, signals and other train controls and operating practices. A failure to comply with existing safety rules can have disastrous results as made evident in several recent derailments where workers suffered injuries in collisions that were likely preventable. The Office of Railroad Safety investigates all reports of train worker injuries or fatalities on the job.  

Would safety equipment have prevented railroad accidents?

Traveling by train or working on a Connecticut railroad is part of many residents' lifestyles. Sadly, several serious railroad accidents have taken place throughout the nation in recent months that have caused many passengers and workers to question whether immediate safety upgrades are needed and, perhaps, regulation changes implemented to avoid such disasters from happening in the future. Along a railroad line in another state, an astounding three crashes recently occurred on the same day.  

In all three situations, trains and automobiles collided. An 84-year-old woman suffered serious injuries in the one of the crashes. A local assistant police chief said he was amazed that there were no fatalities in the incidents. He said he's been working in the area more than 20 years and has never seen anything like this happen.  

Is the Federal Railroad Administration investigating your injury?

The Federal Railroad Administration is a department within the U.S. Department of Transportation. As part of its duties, the FRA collects data and analyzes data regarding railroad worker injuries and accidents. If you've been working on a railroad for a while now, you're likely already very much aware of how dangerous such work can be. Railroad accidents often result in catastrophic, if not fatal injuries. Not every accident requires an FRA investigation, however. 

The main purpose of FRA analyzations is to study current railroad safety trends, maximize safety potential and lower injury risks as much as possible. Your employer is under an obligation to file monthly reports regarding on-the-job accidents and injuries. Such reports typically include information on crossing accidents, equipment mishaps and occupational illnesses workers have suffered. If you suffer injury or illness during the normal course of your railroad workday, make sure you understand your rights and the process by which you may seek recovery for your losses.    

Railroad worker injuries resulted in $5 million jury verdict

A man who used to work for one of the largest freight railroad companies outside Connecticut recently scored a tremendous victory in court regarding multiple injuries he suffered on the job. His situation resulted in a railroad worker injuries jury trial, through which, a ruling was handed down against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to the tune of $5 million. The jury submitted their verdict after listening to courtroom arguments for more than a week.  

The man was injured on two separate occasions. Following his recuperation after the first incident, he was able to return to work on the railroad. However, after the second accident that caused additional injuries, he became permanently disabled and unable to work.  

Overcoming recovery challenges after railroad accidents

Many Connecticut workers suffer catastrophic injuries on the job. Those who work in the railroad industry can experience spinal cord injuries, electrocution, serious burns and other disabling medical conditions as the result of railroad accidents. Such mishaps can occur in an instant, devastating lives when loved ones' on-the-job injuries are fatal or permanently disabling.  

Many people have no clue where to turn to seek support when a catastrophic or fatal injury wreaks havoc in their lives. If a loved one is able to survive a railroad injury, he or she may be unable to return to work or even perform basic daily functions regarding personal hygiene, eating or mobility. It can be quite difficult to find caregivers whose services meet a particular person's needs.  

Support available for those seeking railroad disability benefits

When a railroad worker in Connecticut suffers injury or illness on the job, he or she is sometimes able to return to the workplace after recuperating. During the period of recovery, it is often possible to obtain railroad disability benefits. These temporary benefits are meant to help workers make ends meet during time off while they're unable to carry out their duties on the job. 

Such benefits are typically issued on a biweekly basis. As with most government programs, there are certain eligibility requirements to fulfill in order for a claim to be approved. For instance, a worker must first show inability to work due to pregnancy, illness or some other condition when seeking disability benefits.  

Fatal railroad worker injuries after switching mishap

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently investigating a recent incident that resulted in tragedy on a railroad line in another state. Connecticut has been the scene of fatal railroad worker injuries like this in the past. The OSHA investigation is a common procedure when a workplace fatality has occurred on the railroad.  

In this particular situation, a 42-year old man had been working at the railroad company for approximately eight months before the accident happened. He was a maintenance technician and warehouseman at the shipping terminal. A train car switching operation was apparently underway when the worker was suddenly struck by an unmanned rail car.  

Fatal railroad worker injuries especially tragic

No one has to tell Connecticut railroad employees how dangerous train work can be. In fact, railroad work is often ranked high among most dangerous jobs in the nation. Any on-the-job injury is unfortunate; however, railroad worker injuries that prove fatal are always especially devastating.  

Any number of things can go wrong that cause railroad mishaps to occur. In recent months, several news stories have told of disasters, such as head-on train collisions and derailments that have sent many workers and passengers to hospitals for emergency treatment of their injuries. Sadly, recent incident resulted in one man's death. 

Has your long-time railroad employment resulted in injury?

For various reasons, railroad work ranks high on lists of most dangerous jobs in the nation. It's no secret that traveling down railroad tracks at high speeds on a moving locomotive leaves room for any number of tragedies to occur at any time. However, even if you don't work directly on a train (perhaps your railroad job is behind a desk), there may be danger lurking in your workplace of which you're unaware. 

Especially if your employer fails to inform you about potential workplace hazards or doesn't provide proper training or equipment to help keep you safe, you may be at high risk for injury. Some injuries, in fact, occur over time. These often come about when your workplace duties include holding the same posture or performing the same task over and over again during your ordinary course of duty. This is known as repetitive strain injury and can be partially or fully debilitating.  

Railroad accidents often impact whole communities

Any Connecticut worker who has ever been involved an on-the-job accident understands the long-lasting effects such incidents can have on those involved as well as on anyone who happened to witness the accident as it occurred. Where railroad accidents are concerned, sometimes, the noise of a crash can be heard for great distances. A couple in another state recently experienced the fright of such things when they heard an explosion while watching TV at home.

The cause of the explosion was a massive head-on collision that took place when a moving train switched tracks and ran directly into another train that was stopped. The local man said he and his wife were watching a basketball game together when they heard the sound of the crash. They immediately called 911 and then went outside to see if they could be of assistance at the accident scene.