More than 90 people were injured recently — five seriously — when two commuter trains collided in Connecticut. A train heading from New York City to New Haven derailed and collided with a train heading in the opposite direction, strewing debris for about 200 yards. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether a subsequently discovered broken rail was broken before the crash and might have caused the accident.

If an unrepaired broken rail or any other negligence contributed to the train’s derailment and subsequent collision, any railroad workers injured in the wreck may receive compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). FELA protects railroad employees’ rights and safety by providing a much more comprehensive source for benefits than workers’ compensation. Injuries sustained in train accidents can be very serious and last for years or a lifetime. They generally require more extensive and costlier care than other injuries workers’ compensation programs deal with.

The main key to winning a case under FELA is proving negligence. FELA states that railroad companies must provide employees with safe workspaces. Companies can do so by:

  • Providing appropriate manpower
  • Providing properly maintained equipment and tools
  • Maintaining scheduled inspections of equipment and work areas
  • Creating and enforcing workplace safety guidelines

Railroad workers have the right to a trial by jury in either state or federal court, but only if the claim is filed within three years of the accident. Timing and efficiency is vital, and an attorney experienced in FELA litigation can help ensure you file your claim on time and guide you through the litigation process.

If you were injured during a train accident, call a FELA lawyer with a nationwide reach to discuss your legal options.