Leonardo Anthony Carrilla and Gregory Powers, two Illinois workers injured by fire during the October cleanup of a derailed train in southwest Louisville, have filed a lawsuit against the railroad and its contractors.

According to Carilla and Powers' claims, P&L Railway and CSX, their contractor, did not properly monitor the derailment site. As result, an acetylene cutting torch ignited dangerous contaminates which had previously leaked at the site. Carrilla and Powers, who were employed at that site, were injured in the ensuing fire.

The lawsuit alleges that the fire caused the claimants extensive injuries which required them to undergo surgery, and that the injuries are preventing Carrilla and Powers from returning to work.

Railways are an extremely dangerous work environment and as such the federal government has enacted regulations meant to protect railway workers in case of an injury.

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides individuals injured while working for an interstate railway company with a wider range of protection than regular workers compensation generally provides. Nevertheless, an injured worker still needs to prove that the company acted negligently and that this negligence caused his injury.

Examples of such negligence are:

  • Dangerous work conditions
  • Inadequate training
  • Lack of safety measures
  • Violations of federal laws regarding maintenance of railway equipment
  • Negligence of other railway employees

Even if the injured worker contributed to the cause of the accident, he is still entitled to compensation equal to the part the railroad played in his injury.

Injured railway workers including train crews, laborers and maintenance workers need to consult with a lawyer experienced in FELA claims who knows the right approach to pursue such a claim and get the optimal results for you.