Train accidents can have devastating consequences, not only for passengers and bystanders, but also for hardworking employees within the rail industry. The physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses you and your colleagues can suffer because of train accidents are significant. It is crucial to protect your rights and ensure you receive the support you need in such difficult times. In this article, we explore the causes of train accidents, the legal options available to you, and the responsibilities railroad companies have in preventing accidents and protecting their employees. 

Check out these Train Derailment Statistics 

Causes of Train Accidents 

Several factors can lead to a train accident, including human error, track defects, and equipment failure. These incidents can lead to severe physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses for employees. For instance, employees may suffer from broken bones, head injuries, and back injuries as a result of a train derailment or collision. The psychological impact of such accidents can be equally significant—including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Moreover, employees may experience financial burdens due to medical expenses, loss of income, and rehabilitation costs. 

Employee Protections and Legal Options 

To protect the rights of employees injured in train accidents, there are two legal options available: workers’ compensation and Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). In workers’ compensation cases, fault is generally not a factor in determining eligibility for benefits. Employees are entitled to receive medical benefits, wage replacement, and vocational rehabilitation regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which specifically applies to railroad industry employees, fault becomes a crucial element. FELA allows employees to seek compensation for injuries resulting from the negligence of their employer or another party involved in the operation of the railroad. 

Unlike workers’ compensation, where fault is not a consideration, FELA claims require the injured employee to establish negligence or fault on the part of the employer. This can involve presenting evidence, witnesses, and expert testimonies to support the claim that the employer’s negligence directly led to the accident and subsequent injuries. By allowing employees to seek compensation for employer negligence, FELA provides an avenue for injured railroad workers to hold their employers accountable for unsafe working conditions and seek appropriate damages beyond what is typically available through workers’ compensation programs. 

However, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of each type of protection, and employees should seek legal advice to ensure they make the best decision for their specific circumstances. 

Train Accidents: Company Responsibility and Best Practices 

Railroad companies have a responsibility to prioritize their employees’ safety. This includes maintaining safe working conditions, providing adequate training and resources to prevent accidents, and implementing effective response plans should one occur. By adhering to best practices, such as conducting regular safety inspections, enforcing safety protocols, and promoting a culture of safety within the organization, train companies and employers can significantly reduce the occurrence of accidents.  

Furthermore, employees must be proactive in holding their companies accountable for any negligence that may contribute to train accidents. It is vital for employees to report safety concerns and participate in safety training programs. If an accident occurs, it’s important to seek legal help. 

Seeking Support from Foley & Murphy

Train companies and employers have a responsibility to prioritize employee safety by maintaining safe working conditions, providing adequate training, and implementing effective response plans. But in the event of a train accident, it’s crucial to understand your legal options and seek appropriate support. In such cases, Foley & Murphy can assist you. With extensive experience in handling train accident cases, we can offer personalized legal advice and pursue the best possible outcome. By relying on their knowledge, skills, and dedication, you can receive the support you need to protect your rights and receive fair compensation. Contact Foley & Murphy to learn more! 

There are over 5,500 railroad related injuries per year. Railroad workers face a variety of occupational hazards. Learn the most common injuries and how to get the justice you deserve. Click here to get your infographic