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Railroad Injury Law Blog

Railroad accidents like this one prompt serious safety questions

Connecticut railroad workers entrust their safety to their employers, co-workers, advanced technological systems and their own instincts. Sadly, railroad accidents involving track workers are often attributed to negligence. Nearly all of these work accidents are preventable. 

A man in another state had worked for the same railroad company for 10 years. He was performing maintenance on a section of tracks recently when a terrible accident occurred. The worker, who is a husband and father of three young children, was hit by a train, just after 10 a.m. on a Friday.

Lives often hang in the balance following railroad accidents

Many Connecticut residents live in neighborhoods that are close to railroad tracks. When railroad accidents occur, it often affects people beyond those directly involved. A couple in another state who are in their 70s were at home together when their whole house shook, accompanied by a loud noise. The man said it sounded like something had actually hit their house, which prompted them to outside to see what was going on.

It was later reported that the loud noise had come from an explosion that occurred on nearby railroad tracks. There were workers on the tracks at the time, two of whom were spot welding. Officials who commented on the incident said this type of task is quite common on the railroad. Spot welding involves using torches to make needed repairs along railroad tracks.

Emergency brake system not enough to stop train in time

If you've worked on a Connecticut railroad for some time now, you likely have a good understanding of how difficult it is to stop a moving train in time to avoid collision. Your employer may use advanced technology, such as automatic emergency braking systems, to help improve worker safety on the tracks.

That doesn't always provide enough support to avoid a crash, however. So many extenuating circumstances can suddenly and adversely affect railroad travel. Whether you are an employee or a passenger, you are at great risk for injury if a collision occurs. If you suffer injury, you will need a lot of support during recovery.

Railroad worker injuries sometimes lead to jury verdicts

When a Connecticut railroad employee suffers injury on the job, he or she is responsible for reporting the incident to the employer. Unfortunately, some railroad worker injuries lead to contention between workers and employers, as made evident in one man's situation in another state. This man was injured during the normal course of his duties in 2015 and claims that his boss fired him after he reported his injury. 

Not only did the man lose his job, but he says he was also blacklisted in the industry. The incident that led to this reported discrimination occurred when the worker was trying to exit a train. He told his employer that he suffered serious damage to his arm and wrist when the train door's latch got stuck while he was trying to open it.  

Recovering losses caused by railroad worker injuries

If you or your loved one works on a Connecticut railroad, you likely understand that there are personal injury risks in the workplace. No job, no matter the industry, is 100 percent free of such risk; however, factory work, farming, commercial fishing and railroad jobs are typically more dangerous than others. Railroad worker injuries are often catastrophic, leaving those afflicted with partial or full, permanent disabilities.  

Families are often unprepared to meet exorbitant expenses sometimes associated with on-the-job accidents. Many railroad workers have died in derailments or on-track collisions. Others have suffered loss of limbs, serious burns or other debilitating injuries. Such situations often prompt financial crises when medical bills start rolling in and workers are unable to return to their duties. 

Fatal railroad worker injuries resulted from explosion

The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating a recent tragedy in another state. As most Connecticut railway workers know, railroad worker injuries often occur when equipment malfunctions or people do not do what they are supposed to do to protect worker safety on the job. Regarding the recent incident, there are many unanswered questions as to what may have caused a sudden explosion that resulted in a man's death.

The 37-year-old Metra worker was conducting routine track repair alongside one of his co-workers when the accident occurred. The men were using welding equipment at the time. There were reportedly approximately 17 other workers in the area as well.

Railroad worker injuries and the Federal Employers Liability Act

Working on a Connecticut railroad definitely involves high risk for injury. However, railroad employers are obligated to provide their employees with proper training and equipment to help them stay safe on the job. When railroad worker injuries occur, it often means that the injured employee must take time off work to recover. This is where the Federal Employers Liability Act comes in.

If a worker is injured and has never before navigated the FELA process, it can be a stressful experience. It helps to at least have a basic idea of what to expect. The first step to filing a claim is to document the injury.

Improperly secured stock cars can cause railroad accidents

Do you know that .2 horsepower per ton is all it takes to move a railcar? If you calculate that the average weight of an empty railcar is approximately 30 tons, you can figure that a mere six horsepower is all you need to move it. If you have been in the railroad business a long time, you may already be aware that many railroad accidents occur because of unsecured rolling stock.  

Properly securing stock cars should be of highest priority to all rail facility managers. Whether you work on a freight or passenger train, if you're traveling on a line adjacent to unsecured rolling stock cars, you are at great risk for injury. It doesn't take much to cause an unsecured car to roll; in fact, a strong gust of wind can often do the trick. There is no guarantee that your train would be able to stop in time to avoid a potentially fatal collision.  

Some say funding following railroad accidents has come too late

The sister of a worker who was killed in another state when a train hit him says she plans to tell her mother that funding is set to be provided to install signals at the intersection where her brother died. The tragedy occurred in 2017. Sadly, it was not the first death on that particular section of tracks. At least four other railroad accidents in the same area had similar outcomes. Connecticut railroad workers and many residents are also concerned with safety at railroad crossings. 

The transportation department in the state where the accidents occurred has committed $700,000 to the new project. Amtrak says it will fund the rest. A senator who was recently speaking about the issue said that advocates have been trying get signals installed at the intersection for more than 40 years. The senator and others have lamented the fact that the scheduled funding has only come about after many lives were lost.  

Railroad disability benefits: What you should know before filing

The Railroad Retirement Act provides annuities to Connecticut railroad workers and those in other states who become occupationally or permanently disabled. There is no question that railroad work is among the most dangerous jobs in the nation. If a serious injury occurs that prevents you from being able to return to the workplace, railroad disability benefits can help provide for your family's needs.  

In order to qualify for benefits, you must satisfy the requirements for the number of consecutive years you have worked on the railroad. There are differences between the eligibility factors for permanent disability and occupational disability, such as age requirements for those collecting benefits. You may be considered permanently disabled if your mental or physical health condition renders you to be incapable of performing any type of gainful work.