There’s a difference between working on a railroad and other jobs, such as construction, agriculture or industrial, when it comes to obtaining recovery after workplace accidents. Most Connecticut residents are familiar with the workers’ compensation program that provides benefits to employees injured on the job to help pay medical expenses and replace lost wages. Such benefits do not exist for those who work on the railroad because injured railroad workers can actually sue their employers for negligence in a civil court.
The ability to file a personal injury claim against a railroad employer is made available through the Federal Employers Liability Act, which was first enacted in the early 1900s, was then declared unconstitutional by the high court, but was made firm in legislation that passed Congress a couple years later. The major difference between workers protected by FELA and those eligible for workers’ compensation is that employers are protected from personal liability lawsuits in the workers’ comp system. Not so on the railroad, however, as made evident by a recent lawsuit filed against Norfolk Southern Railway Company by a conductor who suffered a back injury.
The worker suffered permanent disability when in a train derailment accident in 2016. He blames the railroad company, stating that officials failed to provide a safe work environment. The worker said his employers didn’t warn him about a defective door on another train, which, in fact, led to the accident that caused his injury.
The door on the other locomotive apparently malfunctioned, causing a coal spill on the track that was allegedly not properly cleaned up, thus causing his train to derail. He is seeking a trial by jury. A Connecticut attorney well-versed in FELA regulations would be a great asset to an injured railroad worker in this type of situation.
Source: wvrecord.com, “Railway worker blames employer for injuries“, Wadi Reformado, June 12, 2017