Many people in Massachusetts utilize the state’s railway system for daily transportation, business, school, and leisure. While trains are typically safe, they pose some inherent dangers that can have deadly consequences to anyone in the vicinity—asserting rights and recovering damages after a Massachusetts railway accident is challenging and requires a thorough and nuanced understanding of various state and federal laws and regulations.
Train accidents and injuries may stem from engineer impairment, manufacturing defects, negligent drivers, weather conditions, or train car fires. These accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and fatalities. For instance, according to a recent news article, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authorities (MBTA) recently released a preliminary report on the July Green Line accident. The light rail vehicle slammed into another MBTA train while the trains were traveling west. The collision caused 24 passengers and three crew members to suffer injuries requiring hospitalization. The preliminary investigation revealed that the striking train sped to 31 mph, triple the speed limit, before slamming into the train ahead. That train was traveling approximately ten mph when it was struck from the rear. The MBTA announced that they were in the process of terminating the employee that was involved in the accident. They also noted that the local district attorney’s office investigated the operator’s conduct just before the collision.
These cases present challenges, especially when the victim is an employee of the railroad. Unlike other employment injury cases, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system does not cover railroad employees. Instead, they must file a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). In these situations, the injury victim must prove that they meet the elements of a claim. The victim must establish that they were :