Montana railroad workers who suffer an injury while on the job face many challenges. If you work on a railroad in Montana, injuries from a railroad accident can be serious and cause a major disruption to your life.
This may be devastating to you, since like many railroad workers, you might love and be proud of the job that you do. Working on a railroad is a rewarding career for many.
However, railroad work comes with a higher risk of an accident than jobs in other industries. Your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with a safe environment for you to properly do your job, and when they fail in this duty and you sustain injuries, you might have a claim for negligence.
The railroad industry is aware of this legal duty, as illustrated by an announcement earlier this year about additional safety measures that will be taken to reduce the chance of a railroad accident.
Safety measures a response to train derailment
The safety measures were a response to a train derailment earlier this year that caused extensive injuries and damage. The goal of the safety measures is to avoid tragedies like this in the future.
One of the safety measures involves installing additional hot bearing detectors along main railroad routes. The plan is to install approximately 1,000 additional of these hot bearing detectors.
This is in addition to the acoustic bearing detectors that already exist on certain routes, which detect bearings that are beginning to fail. The bearings will also be inspected at a lower temperature than in past years.
Additional training for first responders
Another safety measure involves training. Part of a railroad employer’s legal duty to provide a safe working environment is properly training and educating railroad employees.
Poor training can lead to accidents that could have been prevented. This includes the training of first responders and other emergency personnel that respond to railroad accidents.
The railroad industry states that it plans to train around 20,000 first responders throughout the country in responding to accidents like the recent train derailment.
More protection for workers who report safety issues
You may become aware of safety issues when you are working but be afraid to report them for fear of losing your job or some other form of retaliation. However, all 7 Class I railroads will now be joining the Federal Rail Administration’s Voluntary Close Call Reporting System.
Joining this reporting system is voluntary. Previously, many railroads chose not to participate because they favored their own existing programs.
Your options after a railroad injury
These are just a few of the examples of the safety measures being put in place. However, it should not take a major accident like a train derailment to encourage railroad companies to keep their trains in good working order and provide a safe environment for railroad workers.
When you are injured as part of your railroad job, you do not have access to state workers’ compensation benefits as with other jobs. You must file a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act. This allows you to pursue financial compensation for your losses.
You can argue that your employer’s negligence caused your injuries, but your own potential negligence will also be examined. Therefore, it is best to have professional assistance when filing your claim.