When an Oklahoma family loses a loved one who was the breadwinner of the family, they could face severe financial hardship. When a railroad worker sustains a fatal workplace injury, the dependants of the deceased may have to cope with lost wages, medical bills and the typical high costs of a funeral and burial. Depending upon the type of railroad worker involved and the laws of the state where the fatal accident occurred, the victim’s family likely has a claim for death benefits under state workers’ compensation laws or the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) for compensation.
A railroad worker in a northeastern state was recently killed in a tragic workplace accident in another state. After a section of the railroad tracks was deactivated for maintenance, it was the responsibility of the 58-year-old man and his crew to restore electricity to those sections prior to the busy morning commuter traffic. It was reported that the apparatus where the power supply had to be restored was in an unprotected area, and this was where the man was struck by a train.
Sources stated that the driver of an approaching train noticed the workers and attempted to alert them by sounding the horn. Even after applying the emergency brakes, he still failed to bring the train to a halt before striking the man. The rest of the crew was uninjured, and the passengers on the train completed their journey on another train.
Coverage of railroad workers differs from state to state, but they all have the same purpose to compensate railroad workers (or their families in the event of a fatality) affected by workplace injury or death following workplace accidents. FELA is comparable to most state workers’ compensation programs and typically applies when there is no workers’ compensation coverage within a particular state for railroad workers. This federal statute normally applies when the railroad worker’s employment covers interstate travel, and the law requires some degree of employer negligence to be able to receive compensation. Families in Oklahoma who have lost loved ones in similar workplace accidents may want to seek assistance to determine which laws may apply and what steps must be taken to perfect a legal claim. With the right guidance, the family may be able to cope financially and find closure after the tragedy.
Source: recordonline.com, Metro-North worker struck, killed by train, Judy Rife, March 11, 2014