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Railroad accidents, FELA and negligence: What's the bottom line?

Anyone in Connecticut who has suffered injury in train crash understands how far reaching the devastation of such tragedies can be. Lives are often forever changed. Sometimes, the aftermaths of railroad accidents also include litigation as made evident by an unfolding situation in another state.  

This particular case involves a former railroad engineer. He reportedly fell asleep at the controls on a train that was carrying passengers in 2013. The train was said to have been moving at more than 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. The vehicle derailed, and, sadly, four people died and dozens were injured. One man was thrown through the train upon impact and became paralyzed.  

A psychiatrist who has been treating the ex-railroad employee said he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder because of the accident. The man has filed a lawsuit against his employer, wherein his attorney has argued that the Federal Employers Liability Act protects his client by allowing him to seek recovery for his losses when his employer's negligence results in his personal injury. The attorney explained that if the railroad company had installed available back-up braking equipment, it may have prevented the accident.  

The railroad said it is the engineer's own negligence that caused the collision. However, his attorney also stated that an injured worker's contributory negligence does not negate employer negligence that may also have occurred. In Connecticut or elsewhere, workers injured in railroad accidents may take similar steps as this man to pursue justice as they piece their lives back together.

Source:, "Metro-North says ex-engineer William Rockefeller should pay for crash", Thomas C. Zambito, May 22, 2018

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