Connecticut residents who regularly take the train know how serious a railway accident can become. In February 2018, an Amtrak passenger train crashed into a parked CSX train just outside of Columbia, South Carolina, killing two train workers and injuring a total of 116 people.
Connecticut residents may be interested to know that the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled against a railroad worker who was suing NJ Transit for injuries suffered on the job. The judges claimed that the worker could not sue under the Federal Employers Liability Act because the transit authority was an arm of the state and had immunity. The decision could leave countless rail employees in Connecticut, New Jersey and beyond without legal protection in the event of an injury on the job.
Railroad workers in Connecticut should know about an injury case in Lancaster County, Neb., that ended with the jury awarding an employee of BNSF Railway a multimillion-dollar verdict. The Federal Employers' Liability Act case started on Jan. 7 and ended Jan. 16.
New York residents may be interested to learn that a former railway maintenance worker was awarded $1.63 million by a California state court jury on Jan. 10. The maintenance worker filed a lawsuit against his former employer BNSF Railway Co. after getting hurt on the job. His final payout dwarfed BNSF's pre-trial settlement offer of $50,000.
Personal injury is a serious matter, so it is important that railroad employees living in New York be aware of the legal recourse at their disposal should they get injured at the job: filing a claim under FELA. Unfortunately, the process of filing under FELA can be a bit convoluted, making it difficult to know what's to follow. Therefore, it is worth taking the time to understand how the process unfolds.
Railroad workers in Connecticut must contend with numerous workplace hazards on the job. When accidents and injuries happen, disputes about liability could emerge as was the case when a railroad company countersued two injured employees who had filed a personal injury claim against the company. In a 2-1 decision, a state-level appeals court agreed with the lower court decision that had rejected the employer's countersuit for damages.
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.
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.