Improperly maintained tracks, mechanical failure, and driver inexperience can result in a catastrophic train or railroad accident. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.
Rail is part of the fabric of life in Houston. Because of its Texas Gulf Coast location, Houston is a major American shipping hub and rail is a significant piece of the city’s transportation economy. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, about 2,200 trains travel through the city each week on its network of freight rail lines that includes 14 mainline tracks.
The prevalence of freight rail in the Houston area also means thousands of rail employees work around trains, tracks, crossings, heavy rail equipment, or hazardous cargo every day. Working conditions can be inherently dangerous for employees of railroads or depots. Because of a train’s massive size in comparison with a person, an accident involving a train usually results in very serious or fatal injuries.
A rail worker injured in a train accident may suffer multiple injuries that include any of the following:
When you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed, in an accident involving a train or railroad, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act says that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or losses. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive compensation for your past and future:
The Houston train accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have significant experience representing injured workers to obtain the monetary compensation that helps them move forward with their lives following a debilitating injury. We understand how claims work under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and can use that knowledge to fight for the maximum available compensation for your injury.
Most workers who get injured on the job can turn to workers’ compensation programs to cover their medical care, temporary or permanent disability, vocational retraining, and other rehabilitation necessities without having to prove that their employers were at fault. The trade-off for receiving workers’ compensation benefits is that most workers can’t sue their employers for damages not covered by workers’ compensation when their injuries were caused by the employer’s negligence.
However, when a rail worker is hurt in an accident, he or she is unable to turn to workers’ compensation for help covering medical costs or wages lost to physical or mental impairment. Instead, he or she may have the option of suing a negligent employer through two sets of federal laws designed to protect railroad employees.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act, or FELA, is a law enacted in 1908 that allows a railroad worker to sue his or her employer for negligence in causing work-related injuries. The statute applies to “common carriers by rail,” which under 45 U.S. Code §57 can include any employer involved in the “management and operation of the business” of a railroad.
FELA essentially sets safety standards for railroads, rail yards, and other rail-related workplaces. Under FELA, rail employers are required to provide reasonably safe workplaces. When they fail in that duty, they may be considered negligent.
Some common examples of negligence that may give rise to a FELA claim include:
In a FELA claim, an employee must prove that his or her employer was negligent in causing an injury.
The Federal Safety Appliance Act and Boiler Inspection Act provide additional recourse for injured rail workers to seek compensation from an employer for work-related injuries. Unlike FELA, which requires a worker to prove negligence, the FSAA and BIA apply a stricter standard to railroads and allow workers to seek compensation for certain kinds of accidents even when the employer was not negligent.
You may have a claim under FSAA if you were injured in an accident caused by the failure of:
You may have a claim under the Boiler Inspection Act for injuries caused by unsafe conditions on locomotives.
A railroad crossing collision isn’t the only way someone might be injured in an accident involving a train. Some other common types of train accidents that might be caused by negligence include:
However, amendments to FELA and case law over the years have extended the ability to make FELA claims to nearly all types of rail employees who are injured in work-related accidents. For example, office workers who are injured by unsafe conditions in a rail company office building also may be able to sue a negligent rail employer under FELA.
Liability in train and railroad accidents can be complex. As a rail worker, you may have to sue your employer for negligence in causing your injury in order to recover compensation for your losses. However, depending on the type of accident in which you were injured, you may only have to prove that your injuries were caused by a defect in some part of the train.
Because of the nuances of federal laws governing work-related rail accidents, it’s important to seek the help of a skilled Houston train accident lawyer to help you pursue your claim for compensation. The attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have experience handling cases involving injured rail workers, know all of the relevant laws, and how to investigate train accidents and secure vital evidence in the wake of a collision or derailment.
The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has more than 27 years of experience with catastrophic personal injury cases, including train and rail accidents. We have represented countless people who suffered serious injuries through the negligence of others and obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements or verdicts on behalf of clients.
In the aftermath of a work-related train or railroad accident, it’s important to move quickly to collect and preserve crucial evidence. The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has the skill and resources to investigate these types of accidents and to present strong arguments why you deserve compensation for your injuries.
We offer a free initial case evaluation and charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for your injuries, so there’s no risk when you contact us about your case. Call us today at or use the contact form below to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated Houston train accident lawyers.