Accidents that occur on railroads or trains can take many forms. Passengers can be injured on-board a train or a train can hit a car at a railroad crossing, injuring or killing anyone inside. Train accidents can also harm railroad workers. For a personal injury claim, an attorney handles each of these accidents differently. If a person might have a case for an accident that involves a train or railroad, he or she should contact an attorney to discuss the circumstances of the incident.
Any person considering pursuing a railroad or train accident case in Florida should contact the SteinLaw offices for a free consultation and to explore the legal options available. Our team has experience helping victims of railroad and train accidents.
Injuries to Railroad Workers
Railroad yards are remarkably dangerous places to work. Railroad workers often suffer fatal accidents due to the inherent dangers in their work, which involves large, heavy equipment and loads, vehicles moving at high speeds, the presence of flammable fuels, and other hazards.
In fact, railroad workers suffer so many fatal accidents that the federal government created a special law that applies only to railroad workers. This law is known as FELA: the Federal Employers Liability Act. On the surface, FELA looks like the worker’s compensation that workers in other industries can collect if injured on the job. Both systems compensate workers for injuries they sustain while working for their employers. However, the two systems do have some important differences.
A worker’s compensation claim does not have to show the employer was at fault for the injury. In a FELA claim, injured railroad employees must prove that their employers were negligent by action or omission and that this negligence led directly to injuries.
If the injured worker wins an FELA claim, the employer must pay not only compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and disabilities as a result of the accident (which is all that worker’s compensation covers), but also:
- Lost future and past wages
- Future and past medical expenses
- Physical, mental, or emotional suffering
- Loss earning capacity
- Permanent coverage for a partial or complete disability
The federal law also mandates a statute of limitations for bringing a FELA against an employer. A railroad worker has three years from the date of an injury to file a claim.
Injuries to Train Passengers
Because train companies are corporations that are involved in the transportation of passengers and cargo, the law consider them to be “common carriers.” The law expects common carrier corporations to give their passengers the utmost duty of care. This means that they must do everything possible to ensure the safety of their passengers while aboard the train.
If a person has an accident and suffers an injury on-board a train, he or she can likely file a claim against the train company and seek compensation for damages. This type of lawsuit would either be a personal injury case or a wrongful death case.
Pedestrian Injuries Due to Train Accidents
Trains are quite capable of causing serious and even fatal injuries to people who are unlucky enough to suffer a collision or another form of train accident at a railroad crossing or anywhere else along the tracks. Collisions with vehicles or people at crossroads, where the train injures pedestrians outside, are the most common type of train accident. Various factors contribute to making such a collision more likely, including obstructed views between the crossing and the tracks, the train failing to blow its signal whistle, the lack of warning signs or posts at the crossing, and malfunctioning railroad crossing signals.
The team at SteinLaw is standing by to help any inured railroad worker, train passenger, or victim of a train collision or other train or railroad accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.