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Workers sometimes file legal claims following railroad accidents

The Federal Employers Liability Act protects Connecticut railroad workers by allowing them to file injury claims against employers based upon evidence of negligence. The railroad system is unique in this way as workers in other industries who receive workers' compensation benefits are generally barred from suing their employers for personal injury in civil court. Railroad accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, and one engineer in another state sued his employer three years after a train he was driving derailed.

The man had recently been given a new shift at work. He also reportedly suffered from sleep apnea. The engineer fell asleep on the job, the train derailed, and four people lost their lives upon impact. Dozens more were injured.

More than $30 million has been paid out to families of deceased victims who filed legal claims against the railroad company on the behalves of their loved ones' estates. The engineer himself filed a claim under FELA. He alleges that his employer negligently failed to install available safety equipment that could have automatically slowed the train when he nodded off at the controls.

The engineer was cleared of criminal wrongdoing although many were not happy about that development. A family member of one of the decedents said she and others deserve to know the truth and believe officials are withholding information from them or not investigating matters to the fullest to reveal exactly what happened and who may be responsible for their loved ones' deaths. In Connecticut and across the country, railroad accidents often give rise to a number of civil claims for monetary damages. Victims (including the surviving families of deceased victims) have every right to consult with attorneys experienced in handling these types of claims, including FELA claims when a railroad worker is hurt.

Source:, "Bronx derailment: Questions remain about engineer in fatal Metro-North Derailment", Thomas C. Zambito, Nov. 30, 2017

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