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 :
- Employed by a railroad company that handles freight or operates across state lines;
- The accident occurred during the scope of their employment; and
- The accident stemmed from the negligence or recklessness of the railroad company.
The law places different burdens on non-employee passengers who suffer injuries in a Massachusetts train or trolley accident. In these cases, the potential plaintiff must abide by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 258, Section 4. The statute governs the notice requirement, statute of limitations, and other specific requirements that the law mandates. At any stage of these claims, missteps can result in a dismissal and inability to collect damages after an accident. As such, injury victims should consult with an attorney to ensure that they meet the statute’s requirements.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Massachusetts Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Massachusetts train accident, contact the attorneys at the Neumann Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team. The lawyers at our office have extensive experience handling complex personal injury claims stemming from Massachusetts car, truck, and train accidents, slip and falls, premises liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Our dedicated attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the interplay between state and federal statutes that may impact an accident lawsuit. We have recovered significant amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our legal team.