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Railroad Injury Blog

NTSB Release Video Of Its Amtrak Derailment Investigation

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Earlier today the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released video concerning its investigation of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment.

Watch it here.

By Matt Darby

NTSB Confirms That Derailed Amtrak Train Was Traveling More Than 100 MPH

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The NTSB confirmed in a Tweet earlier today that the Amtrak train involved in yesterday’s derailment in Philadelphia was traveling more than 100 MPH. This was more than twice the speed permitted in the location where the derailment occurred.

By Matt Darby

No Positive Train Control In The Location Of The Amtrak Derailment

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer indicated that Amtrak had not installed Positive Train Control in the location of yesterdays derailment.

A link to that report is here.

By Matt Darby

Positive Train Control Update

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The April edition of Progressive Railroading has an article regarding the status of the implementation of positive train control (PTC). The article raises some serious questions as to whether the Nation’s railroads will have PTC implemented by the federally mandated December 2015 deadline.

A link to the article can be found here.

By Matt Darby

Reuters Reports That Paralyzed Passenger Has Sued Over Metro-North Crash

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Reuters has reported that a 39 year old Metro-North passenger who was paralyzed as a result of the December 1, 2013 crash has sued for $100,000,000.00. Samuel Rivera, an employee of Metro-North, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, was left a quadriplegic. His doctors feel that his condition is permanent and it is unlikely that he will ever regain the ability to move his limbs. Rivera’s lawsuit is the seventh resulting from the crash. The Reuters article can be found here.

The Wall Street Journal reported about the first lawsuit filed in connection with the about it here.

By Matt Darby

FRA Launches Inspection Of Metro-North

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Federal Rail Administration (FRA) has been busy over the last couple of weeks. Last week, in the wake of the December 1st commuter rail tragedy in New York it announced an emergency order concerning Metro-North Commuter Rail’s speed compliance. Article here.

On Wednesday, it issued an industry-wide advisory regarding speed restrictions. Article here.

Yesterday, it announced that it will be performing a 60-day compressive safety assessment of Metro-North. The assessment has been named “Operation Deep Dive” and will begin on December 16, 2013. It will involve FRA technical and human factors experts that will review safety-critical procedures and processes at Metro-North. Once the assessment is completed, the FRA will issue a report with findings and recommendations. The FRA’s press release regarding Operation Deep Dive can be found here.

By Matt Darby

Conrail Responds To Paulsboro Lawsuit

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Consolidated Rail Corporatoin (Conrail) had responded to a lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs claiming damages arising from the Paulsboro, New Jersey derailment that occurred on November 30, 2012. That derailment resulted in the release of more 100,000 pounds of vinyl chloride gas. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey claims, amongst other things, that Plaintiffs are entiled to medical monitoring to detect any long-term effects they might suffer from their exposure to the vinyl chloride gas. Conrail has filed with the Court a motion to dismiss this claim and the claim of trespass from the vinyl chloride.

A link to yesterday’s article can be found here.

By Matt Darby

Recorded Statements Are A Bad Idea

Monday, July 01, 2013

Often after a Railroader gets injured on the job, he or she receives a friendly phone call from a claim’s agent requesting a recorded statement concerning how the accident occurred and the injuries sustained. Often, the claim’s agent makes it appear that such a statement is standard procedure and is required by the Railroad’s rules. Other times, the claim’s agent indicates that an injury claim cannot go forward without such a statement.

Neither are true. While an injured Railroader is required under the Railroad’s rules to report an injury and complete an accident report as soon as possible, there is no rule or regulation that requires a recorded statement be provided to a claim’s agent. As a result, DO NOT GIVE ONE. The purpose of the recorded statement is to help the Railroad and not you. The claim’s agent is going use the statement regarding how the accident occurred to try to minimize or eliminate the Railroad’s liability under the FELA.

See here and here. He or she will likely ask you questions concerning the cause of the accident in a way that twists the truth about what really happened. Also, the claim’s agent will use the statement to diminish your clam by asking questions in a manner that minimizes the injuries you sustained. Remember, the statement is RECORDED. That means that once you have given it, you can’t go back and change or correct what you said even if you made a mistake.

By Matt Darby

Police Officers Sue As A Result Of Paulsboro Crash

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Courier Post Newspaper reported last week that police officers who responded to the November 2012 Paulsboro, N.J. crash of a Conrail train have filed suit alleging that they sustained injuries as a result of exposure to vinyl cloride. The lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia Superior Court.

The article can be found here.

By Matt Darby

The Importance Of Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Monday, October 01, 2012

Part of every railroader’s daily existence is the process of deadheading from one work location to another. It is important to remember that under the Federal Employers Liability Act, CSX Transportation, Inc. is required to provide you with a reasonably safe place in which to work. This duty extends to the premises of third parties, including industry yards, hotels and any other place the railroad requires you to be in the furtherance of your work duties. Just like with most other cases, it is important that the railroad be made aware of any dangerous condition you may encounter any place you work. This can often make the difference between a successful case and one that is not.

In the context of deadheading, it is important to understand that PTI is considered an agent of the railroad. This means that legally, any negligence of PTI is considered to be the negligence of the railroad. Therefore, if the PTI driver violates a traffic rule or drives negligently, your FELA case would essentially proceed just as if the injury occurred on railroad property. This would also be true if there was some defect in the PTI vehicle that caused or contributed to the accident. The lesson here is that if there is any aspect of the accident that was caused or contributed to by the PTI van driver, it is important that you record that fact. For example, if the van driver was not paying attention due to the fact he appeared to be fatigued so he did not react as quickly as he could have, make sure that this fact is noted in the CSXT injury report (Form PI-1A). That way, even if the main theory of the case is that another driver was negligent, the railroad will still be held in the case as a joint-tortfeasor; meaning that they would be required to pay any verdict in the case.

However, what happens if the PTI driver was not negligent and you are injured in an accident? It is clear that you would be “covered” under the FELA, but since the railroad was not negligent, an FELA case would not be successful. Therefore, the only case you may have would be against the driver who caused the accident. What would happen if the PTI van was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended by another vehicle? Since the PTI van driver was not negligent, there would be no chance of a recovery under the FELA. Your only recovery would be against the other driver. That would be fine if the other driver has sufficient liability insurance limits, but what if the other driver only had minimum coverage?

Consider this scenario. You are in a PTI van that is rear-ended. You injure your neck and have to have surgery and miss two years from work, or maybe cannot ever return to work? The driver who caused the accident only has $20,000 in liability coverage? That means that even if you have lost wages of $250,000, you would receive $20,000 and that is all!

How can we avoid this outcome? The only way to protect yourself is to purchase Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist (UIM) coverage with high limits. I suggest that the limits be at least $1 million. UIM coverage applies when a motor vehicle accident occurs and the negligent driver does not have sufficient liability insurance limits to satisfy the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. The claim is then submitted to your UIM insurance company. If the case does not settle, a lawsuit can be filed just like any other personal injury case. In addition, your insurance rates cannot be increased if you pursue a UIM claim. Having sufficient UIM limits can be the difference between being completely compensated for your losses or losing everything you have worked for in your career.

Please contact your United Transportation Union Designated Legal Counsel Matt Darby at 800-248-FELA or if you have any questions.

By Matt Darby

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