Railroad workers in Connecticut are probably familiar with the Federal Employers Liability Act, one of the first mandates every passed by the U.S. Congress. Ever since it was enacted in 1906, the act has sought to protect railroad employees from misconduct and negligence on their employers' part and has compensated those employees who incur injuries.
Connecticut workers who report unlawful conduct by other employees or supervisors are protected by state and federal whistleblower laws. However, the costs that come from speaking out can still be great. A man who formerly held a position as New Jersey's chief compliance officer for the transit system was fired after reporting favoritism among employees who had connections with the governor's office.
More than 100 years ago, the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) was passed to protect railroad workers who got injured on the job. Still going strong today, the statute supersedes all state laws affecting railroad workers in Connecticut, New York and the rest of the country. In order for injured workers to receive compensation, they must first prove that their employer was negligent. Monetary awards are then distributed in proportion to the employer's failure to comply with workplace safety standards.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has been a harsh critic of the Long Island Railroad's efforts to install federally mandated crash-prevention technology. After learning that transportation officials had given the suburban commuter railroad another two years to comply with the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act, Schumer demanded that work continue around the clock. The law, which was passed in the wake of a California train accident that claimed 25 lives, required railroads to install positive train control systems by the end of 2015. That date has since been pushed back to 2020, and railroads are now only required to meet certain minimum standards to be in compliance with the federal law.
New York residents may remember some of the more recent railroad accidents involving Amtrak, CSX and Union Pacific Railroad trains. Many of these occurred on railroads that had temporarily suspended the signal system for maintenance, repairs and other work. The trend is so prominent that the Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety advisory for all railroads under signal suspensions.
Residents of Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C., who are concerned about workplace injuries should be aware of a rail yard accident that occurred in Texas. A carman who was hurt on the job alleges that his injury occurred due to hazardous conditions at the rail yard. Citing negligence, the suit was filed against Union Pacific Railroad Co. in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 18.
Unless you have been through the process before, it can be difficult to know what to do after a workplace injury. If you are injured at your job with the railroad, you may be able to receive compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) for past and future wage loss as well as physical and mental suffering. Because you will only receive compensation if you can prove your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, it is important you take several precautions after your accident, if you are physically able to do so.