In Massachusetts, train or railroad accidents can involve the interstate rail system, commuter rail, locomotives, trolley, and/or local subway systems. When it comes to these complex cases, Sheff & Cook has a proud, longstanding, and successful 60+ year tradition as train accident lawyers in the Greater Boston Area.
We’ve represented railroad employees and their families who have suffered a wrongful death or serious injury on the job under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). Our clients have included railroad employees injured in railroad accidents across many crafts and unions, including the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE), the United Transportation Union (UTU), the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
In addition to our extraordinary results in court cases filed for injured railroad workers or their families, we have assisted railroad workers in obtaining benefits to help them through their darkest moments.
We’ve also been privileged to represent passengers, pedestrian, and vehicle operators who have been injured following contact with trains.
There are a multitude of factors that can cause a railroad accident involving passengers and/or employees, including:
- Failure of railroad track and/or equipment
- Dangerous conditions in railyard buildings, facilities, and yards
- Unprotected track operations
- Insufficient employee supervision and/or training
- Failures in right of way circumstances and track protection
- Improper train or track maintenance
- Excessive loads
- Violations of railway maintenance and safety regulations
- Careless station security
- Derailment or collisions of trains or train cars
- Insufficient warnings for safety hazards
- Unnecessary speed
At Sheff & Cook, we strive to make a difference in the safety of our nation’s railways, and to the railroad workplace. We explore the facts of an accident, probing deeply into the underlying circumstances that caused the injury in the railroad workplace. We investigate the accident, speak to available witnesses and hire experts as necessary to determine the responsibility for the accident. Our team of personal injury and wrongful death attorneys are very familiar with the regulations, procedures and manuals that govern the railroad workplace and that apply to train and railroad accidents. We use that knowledge and experience to protect your legal rights and hold the responsible parties accountable so you get full and fair compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a train or on railroad property in Massachusetts, contact our team to discuss your options.
Railroad Workplace Lawsuits Under FELA
Railroad workers’ claims are unique in our system. Specifically, railroad workers can pursue their rights for compensation due to railroad accidents through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), a special statute created to protect railroad workers.
The railroad workplace has been (and remains) a workplace with significant physical dangers to its employees, especially craft employees and their ARSA supervisors. In 1901, the United States Congress sought to protect railroad workers from these railroad accidents and job hazards while working on the railroad. It passed the FELA as a measure of protection for railroad accident victims. The law states, in part:
“Every…railroad…shall be liable in damages to any person suffering injury while he is employed by such carrier in such commerce, or, in case of death of such employee, to his or her personal representative, for the benefit of the surviving widow or husband and children of such employee; and, if none, then of such employee’s parents; and, if none, then of the next of kin dependent upon such employee, for such injury or death resulting in or in part from the negligence of any of the officers, agents, or employees of such carrier, or by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.” (45 U.S.C.A. Sec. 51)
FELA is the only right injured railroad workers have at law to receive compensation for railroad accidents. Courts throughout the United States have interpreted this law broadly, finding that the standard of negligence for railroad accident claims is significantly more expansive than other types of negligence actions and providing injured workers with greater rights.
While negligence remains a standard in FELA claims, the lack of due care (or failure to do what a reasonable and prudent man would ordinarily have done under circumstances) is relaxed, imposing a greater responsibility upon the railroad to provide a safe place to work.