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.
Residents of Connecticut might be interested in the outcome of a wrongful termination suit that was filed against BNSF Railway. The plaintiff, a worker from Montana, was awarded $2.1 million in federal court on November 5 after a jury decided that BNSF had wrongfully terminated his employment after he suffered an on-the-job injury.
Railroad and subway workers in Connecticut and across the country may be concerned to learn about an explosion in Chicago that took the life of one Metra worker and severely injured another. The two men were welding on the railroad on Nov. 3, 2018, in the city's northwest side when a tank of gas stored at a nearby truck exploded. The workers were operating on the Milwaukee District North line during morning repair work at the time of the accident, which happened near the line's Grayland Park station.
Heavy equipment produces abundant workplace hazards for railroad workers in New York. An accident described by a lawsuit filed by a man who suffered serious injuries while working as a switchman illustrates how a day at work could lead to the hospital. His court filings accuse Toddco Construction LLC and LJA Infrastructure Inc. of negligence after the parties left a backhoe on an active line of track. When his train hit the backhoe, he was crushed between the machines.
Connecticut residents may have heard about the railroad accident that took place on Sept. 29 in Norwalk. This was the second time in two and a half months that a collision led to a Metro-North Railroad employee being hospitalized.
Amtrak has been working to improve both its safety record and its customer service. Generally, the trains run on schedule between New York and Washington, D.C., since the company owns those tracks, but in other places, they are often delayed by freight trains.
When railroad workers in Connecticut and around the country are injured in an on-the-job accident, they are covered by Federal Employers Liability Act rather than a state workers' compensation program. FELA coverage, like workers' compensation, helps injured workers financially while they are unable to earn a paycheck, but railroad workers seeking benefits must satisfy a requirement that workers injured in other sectors do not. Negligence is not generally taken into consideration when workers' compensation claims are evaluated, but it is of crucial importance in FELA claims.
Railroad workers in Connecticut and around the country who are injured in on-the-job accidents are covered by the Federal Employers Liability Act and not state-run workers' compensation programs. While injured or sick workers in other industries are generally entitled to compensation even if they acted negligently, railroad workers may be denied benefits if their injuries were entirely or partly caused by their reckless behavior. Another key difference between the two processes is that FELA claims are filed in court rather than with a workers' compensation insurance company.
In September 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board issued its report on a railway accident that occurred in January 2017 in South Dakota. Railway workers and their employees in New York may be able to learn from this incident, which was the 52nd fatal railway accident to occur in the past 21 years.