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Railroad Injury Blog

2 Killed In Collision WIth MARC Commuter Rail

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yesterday, two people were killed in Baltimore as a the result of collision between a car and a MARC commuter rail. None of the train’s crew or any of passengers were injured.

A link to the news story can be found here.

By Matt Darby

FRA Issues Emergency Order In Response To Metro-North Tragedy

Monday, December 09, 2013

On Friday, the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) issued an emergency order in response to the Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) accident that occurred on December 1st. The order requires Metro-North to modify its existing signal system to ensure speed limits are obeyed and provide two qualified employees to operate trains where the speed restrictions are in place until the signal system is updated.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is quoted in the FRA’s press release as stating: “Safety is our highest priority, and we must do everything we can to learn from this tragic crash, and help prevent future derailments.”

FRA Administer Joseph C. Szabo was also quoted as stating: “Even with a 43 percent decline in train accidents nation-wide over the past decade, we must remain steadfast and vigilant to ensure passengers and employees are safe. The public deserves better and our mission is to drive continuous safety improvements.”

The FRA’s press release 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

Amtrak Injury Report

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Amtrak injury report is called a NRPC 260. It is important that the form be completed accurately and completely. Any information regarding the cause of the injury should be included.

The important sections of the NRPC 260 are:

  • Descibe fully how the accident occurred: In this section, it is important to provide a brief description of what happened.
  • Describe cause of accident: In this section, it is important to list any defective equipment, unsafe conditions or other factors that may have caused or contributed to your injury. Do not include any extra information that is not relevant to the cause of your injury.
  • Describe injury/ Illness: In this section, it is important to list any areas of your body in which you are feeling pain or discomfort. The railroad may argue that any area of your body not listed in this section was not injured in the accident.

It is important to obtain a copy of your report. Refer to the report if questioned at a later time about the injury.

By Matt Darby

FRA Holds Emergency Meeting Regarding Hazardous Materials Transport

Friday, August 30, 2013

Yesterday, August 29, 2013, the FRA Safety Advisory Committee held an emergency meeting to consider additional rail safety measures for hazardous materials transport. The Committee makes recommendations to the FRA regarding rail safety issues. It is composed of representatives from throughout the rail industry. The meeting was in response to the derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada that occurred earlier this summer.

The FRA press release regarding the meeting can be found here.

By Matt Darby

Norfolk Southern Railway Company Injury Report

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Norfolk Southern injury report is called a Form 22. It is important that the Form 22 be completed accurately and completely. Any information regarding the cause of the injury should be included.

The important sections of the Form 22 are:

  • Describe What Happened: In this section, it is important to list any defective equipment, unsafe conditions or other factors that may have caused or contributed to your injury. Do not include any extra information that is not relevant to the cause of your injury.
  • Do You Desire Medical Treatment At This Time: If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort as a result of the incident, you should seek medical care. Under the FRSA, the railroad cannot interfere in any way with your medical care. In addition, if requested, the railroad must take you to the closest appropriate medical facility. See here.

It is important to obtain a copy of your injury report. Refer to the report if questioned at a later time about the cause or nature of the injury.

Here is an image of Norfolk Southern Form 22: click here.

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

Rail Inspected Two Days Prior To Metro-North Crash

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Connecticut Post reported yesterday that the stretch of rail involved in last Friday’s Metro-North train collision had been inspected two days prior. This information was obtained from Robert Kulat, a spokesman for the Federal Rail Administration (FRA). The article goes on to indicate that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation is focused on two sections of rail found at the scene of the collision that appear to have broken apart at the joint assembly that holds them together.

Yesterday’s article can be found here.

By Matt Darby

CSX Injury / Illness Report

Friday, May 03, 2013

Over the next several weeks, I am going to focus on the importance of properly completing an injury report. Failure to properly complete a Railroad’s injury report can seriously damage a potantial FELA claim. I will start with the CSX Transportion, Inc.’s injury/ illness report.

The CSXT injury report is called a PI-1A. It is important that the PI-1A be completed accurately and completely. While it should be completed as soon as possible after the incident, it should not be completed when the injured persons is under duress, in severe pain or while heavily medicated. Any information regarding the cause of the injury should be included.

The important sections of the form are:

  • 25. Describe the incident: In this section, it is important to list any defective equipment, unsafe conditions or other factors that may have caused or contributed to your injury. Do not include any extra information that is not relevant to the cause of your injury.
  • 29. Was anyone at fault?: In this section, it is important that you check “YES” if there was any defective equipment, unsafe condition or other factor that may have caused or contributed to your injury. For example, if the injury was caused by a defective switch, the person at fault would be those responsible for inspecting and maintaining the switch.
  • 30. Did defective tool or equipment cause incident?: In this section, it is important that you check “YES” if there was any defect in any tool or equipment that caused or contributed to your injury.
  • 31. Did the employee have a safe place in which to work?: In this section, it is important that you check “NO” if there was any aspect of your work environment that caused or contributed to your injury.
  • 32. Was the workplace adequately lighted?: In this section, it is important that you check “NO” if lack of adequate lighting caused or contributed to your injury.

It is important that you obtain and retain a copy of your completed report. You should refer to the report if you are questioned at a later time about the injury.

Here is a link to an image of a CSXT PI-1A: PI-1A

By Matt Darby

The Safety Appliance Act (SAA)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Railroad Safety Appliance Act (“SSA”) was passed by Congress on March 2, 1893 in response to the large number of injuries and deaths attributed an unregulated railroad industry. Prior to the enactment of the SSA, most rail cars were not equipped with mechanisms to make them safe and many of the practices and procedures used by train service employees were unsafe. The initial Safety Appliance Act required the use of power brakes on all trains engaged in interstate commerce. It also required that all railcars be equipped with automatic couplers, draw bars and handholds. In 1903, Congress passed the second Safety Appliance Act that extended the requirements of the first Act beyond railcars to any equipment engaged in interstate commerce. The third passage of the Act occurred in 1910 requiring that all vehicles be equipped with hand brakes, sill steps, and where appropriate, running boards, ladders and roof handholds. The third enactment also required that the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) designate the number, dimensions, locations, and manner of application of the various safety appliances identified in the Act. The Act can be found here.

Like the Locomotive Inspection Act (see here) the SAA places an absolute duty on a railroad to comply with safety standards set-forth in the Act. Under the SSA, it is unlawful for a railroad to operate a railcar on its rail lines unless it complies with the requirements of the Act. A railroad's violation of the Act results in strict liability. What that means is that there is no consideration regarding whether the Railroad was negligent with respect to whether it caused a Railroader’s injuries. Negligence was recently discussed in this blog here. The issue of negligence is not relevant to the claim that the Railroad violated the SAA, since the SAA imposes an absolute duty on the Railroad for injuries cause in whole or part by violations of the Act. In addition to the absolute duty placed on the Railroad, there is no consideration whether the injured Railroader was negligent or whether his or her negligence played any part in causing his or her injuries. In other words, if a jury determines the Railroad violated the LIA, it cannot consider whether the injured Railroader was contributorily negligent. (See here.)

By Matt Darby

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