Understanding Louisiana Railroad Accidents and FELA Claims
Trains and railroads have been part of the transportation industry for over 200 years. Even with all of the technological advances in train and railroad safety, there are still over a thousand train and railroad accidents each year in America.
Train and railroad accidents occur for a number of reasons, but are exaggerated because of the speed and weight of trains. Railroads often wind through regions with overgrown trees, blocking long range visibility. Too often, a train or railroad worker won’t see an obstruction until it is too late to stop in time.
In addition to obstructed views, there are multiple causes of train accidents which can result in severe injury or fatalities, such as:
- Derailments of the train
- Mechanical failure of the train
- Human error when operating a train
- Failure to properly maintain a track or other parts of a railroad
- Vehicles and pedestrians attempting to “beat” the train as it approaches
Just one car on a train can weigh as much as a big truck that is fully loaded. Because of this and the inability to stop quickly, the train will more likely than not cause extreme damage to a vehicle or pedestrian in its path. There are many ways in which vehicles and pedestrians can make the area surrounding railroads safer for all who are involved. Train accident prevention includes:
- Always assuming a train track is in use.
- Avoiding stopping on a train track or walking down a length of the railroad.
- Not entering a train tunnel or other area where the train may trap you without escape.
- Understanding that trains are much wider than the railroad they travel on.
Most importantly, you should never assume you can beat a train. Trains traveling at just 55 miles per hour can take over 1 mile to come to a complete stop. By the time a train conductor sees an obstruction on the railroad it is already too late.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a train or railroad accident, you will need to speak to an experienced legal attorney. During a free consultation with Cueria Law Firm, LLC, our train and railroad accident attorney will review the facts of your case in order to identify all damages you can claim and who your claim is against. If another party’s negligent behavior led to bodily injury or death, our team will begin work immediately to make sure evidence is preserved, witness statements and police reports are obtained and you can begin treatment for your injuries.
At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, we only receive payment once your case is closed. It is our priority to allow you the chance to recover from your injury without having to worry about the cost of legal representation and medical treatment. To schedule a free consultation with our train and railroad attorney, contact us at (504) 525-5211.
The Federal Employers Liability Act Grants Railroad Workers the Right to Compensation for Railroad Accidents and Injuries
In the United States, there are over 600 railroads, spanning hundreds of thousands of miles with more than 200,000 railroad crossings. The use of trains has dwindled as other methods of shipping and traveling have become more popular, but they still employ many Americans as railroad workers.
Railroad workers face the risk of train and railroad accidents every single day in their industry. Because of this the Federal Employers Liability Act was passed in 1908 to protect the men and women working in the railroad industry in the event they are injured in a train or railroad accident. Also known as FELA, the act covers:
- Injuries such as sprains, broken bones and pulled muscles
- Injuries sustained from repetitive motion such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel
- Diseases sustained from workplace exposure such as loss of hearing, lung cancer and more
- Pre-existing injuries or diseases which were exaggerated by an injury sustained in the workplace
During the process of filing a claim against your railroad company under FELA, you will need to prove the injury you sustained was due to the railroad employer’s negligence. Not only that, but you will need to show evidence that the negligence played an important role in causing your injury. There are several scenarios in which a railroad or railway company’s negligence can cause an injury including failure to provide a safe workplace for railroad workers, failure to train railroad employees for their jobs, failure to provide and maintain functioning equipment and tools and the failure to properly staff railroad and railway workers needed to complete their work.
Unfortunately, even those who have the right under FELA to pursue compensation for their railroad worker injuries will not get the financial reward they need to recover. Railroad companies are Fortune 500 businesses with some of the best legal resources at hand to fight your claim.
The federal government has strict guidelines which were established to protect railroad workers in their industry. This is due to the dangerous nature of railroad work. When these guidelines are not followed, they can result in railroad accidents which can be catastrophic, life-changing, and in some cases, fatal. These railroad accidents which can lead to a railroad worker’s injury include:
- Train cars being derailed
- Mechanical failure of the train
- Human error when operating a train
- Failure to properly maintain a railroad track
- Crashes involving other trains and vehicles
Not only are they working in situations where fast-traveling trains pose a threat, railroad workers are also exposed to chemicals which can cause illnesses. These include:
- Diesel Fuel
Illnesses can take more time to develop, and you may not notice the effect chemical exposure had on you until well after you stop working in the railroad industry. It’s important to have a solid understanding of your rights under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act before you get sick, so you will know how to set yourself up for the best possible outcome when filing a FELA claim.
Protecting Your Rights Under FELA After a Railroad Accident or Injury
When a railroad worker or other individual is injured while working on or near a train or railroad track, they should immediately report the injury. They should demand an accident report be filed, and see to it that the report is as accurate and detailed as possible. Before signing it, the injured individual should check for errors or language which dismisses their injuries in any way.
A representative from the railroad company may contact the injured railroad worker to get a written or recorded statement. Other than the information in this report, it is not wise for any statements to be given regarding their injury or the situation in which they were injured. The railroad company will be acting out of their own best interest to save money which they owe the railroad worker for their injury while working on or near a train or railroad.
Any individual who is injured in an accident involving a train or railroad should seek medical attention. While the railroad company does have the right to have an injured individual seen by a doctor of their choosing, this is not the only medical provider an injured individual is allowed to see. It is beneficial to have an unbiased medical provider check your injuries to make sure the full extent of the injury is documented and treated.
The final step in protecting a railroad worker’s rights after an injury sustained from a railroad or train accident is to seek legal help with their FELA claim. The claim process is complicated and railroad workers may miss out on damages they are entitled to because they are not familiar with the legal process. These damages include:
- Medical expenses, including future costs
- Lost wages, including future inability to work
- Physical pain and suffering endured
- Mental pain and anguish over your injuries
- Lifestyle changes, such as accessibility equipment
In order to preserve your right to the above mentioned damages, it is important to speak to a FELA attorney as soon as possible following your railroad or train accident. Our FELA attorney at Cueria Law Firm will begin working immediately to make sure the site of the accident is inspected, wreckage and other evidence is preserved, witness statements are obtained and qualified experts have the chance to review the facts of your FELA claim. To find out if you have a FELA claim you can contact our FELA claim lawyer at (504) 525-5211 to set up a free consultation.