practice areas

Railroad Injuries

Train Accidents and Injuries - An Overview Railroad Employees

Railroads continue to play a vital role in the American economy. There are more than one hundred thousand miles of rail line throughout the country. While passenger use of railroads has declined over time, rail transportation continues as a popular high-volume, low-cost method to ship freight and goods.

The ongoing use and popularity of America's rail system is not without cost. Each year thousands of railroad workers suffer injuries and death while engaged in work-related duties. Railroad passengers also continue to be injured and killed while traveling by train, though declining usage has resulted in an overall decrease in the number of passengers injured. The most shocking number of non-work-related train accidents and injuries occur at railroad/highway crossings. According to the Federal Highway Administration, a train strikes a vehicle or a pedestrian at a rail crossing approximately every 2 hours in the United States. These 12 daily incidents have the potential of producing catastrophic injuries and deaths. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

Railroad Employees & FELA

Railroad employees who are injured on the job are covered by a federal law called the Federal Employers' Liability Act, which is better known as FELA. Under FELA, railroad employees have a duty to provide safe places of work for railroad employees. If the railroad fails to enact appropriate safety measures, the railroad may be liable for any injuries or a death by an employee. The train accidents lawyers at Harowitz and Tigerman LLP handle all kinds of railroad worker injuries and deaths under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), including:

  • Traumatic spinal cord injuries
  • Occupational illnesses and death
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, including asbestos, diesel fumes, metals, cleaning solvents, and
  • other harmful toxins
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive trauma injuries
  • To learn more about train accidents, derailments and railroad employee injuries governed by the
  • Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), please read on.

Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) - Overview

  • Provide reasonably safe work environment, equipment, tools, and safety devices;
  • Inspect the work environment to ensure it is free of hazards;
  • Provide adequate training, supervision, assistance, and help to employees in their job functions;
  • Ensure workers are safe from harmful intentional acts of others;
  • Enforce safety rules and regulations;
  • Prevent use of unreasonable work quotas

It is important to note that the amount of fault that needs to be shown (sometimes called the "burden of proof") in a FELA claim is less than the degree of fault that one needs to establish in an ordinary negligence claim, such as in a lawsuit brought for injuries suffered in a car accident. A person bringing a FELA claim need only show that the defendant was somehow negligent, and that such negligence, no matter how small in its relation to the injuries suffered, played some role in causing those injuries. This is sometimes known as a "featherweight" burden of proof, and it gives an advantage to the FELA plaintiff seeking a legal remedy for injuries. FELA also requires that the railroad on which the employee was injured be somehow involved in interstate commerce, but this factor is almost always a given. Contact us with any additional questions you may have.

We represent clients in California including the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles and other California communities.