Michigan Conductor Injury Attorneys
Conductors and other railroaders have hazardous jobs. While railroaders comprise only a small percentage of the overall workforce, the rate of serious injury or death is nearly double the rate for most other occupations. If you were injured while working as a conductor, you might be eligible for financial compensation through a FELA claim. At Sommers Schwartz, our dedicated team of workplace injury lawyers has unique experience handling FELA claims on behalf of injured rail workers.
What Does a Conductor Do?
A conductor has two primary job duties depending on the type of train, although some conductors may fill in with other jobs around the railyard. Primarily, conductors on passenger trains are responsible for the safe boarding and unloading of passengers conductors also collect payments from passengers, check passengers’ tickets, announce upcoming stations, and provide help to passengers when the need arises. Conductors on cargo trains oversee the movement of railcars from one location to another, they also are involved in making up the trains by switching rail cars from track to track.
Types of Work Environments
Passenger conductors spend a large part of their day aboard moving trains. Moving trains present obvious hazards, mainly because a conductor constantly moves around rail cars to interact with passengers. When a conductor is not on board a train, they may be asked to couple or separate train cars or help with other jobs outside the train, exposing them to additional hazards, like electrocution.
Common Conductor Injuries for passenger service.
Most conductor injuries stem from their being on their feet aboard a moving train. Most of the time, trains provide a fairly smooth and predictable ride. However, this can lull a conductor into a false sense of security. When an engineer suddenly applies the brakes, or there is some other sudden jolt, a conductor can easily fall.
Conductors are also often boarding and getting off trains, presenting another opportunity for serious injury. A conductor caught off-guard may fall from the train onto the ground or, even worse, onto the tracks.
Conductors are also at risk of developing repetitive-use injuries. For example, conductors who regularly check passengers’ tickets may use the same hand motion to punch tickets. While this seemingly harmless motion is not likely to cause injury over the short term, it can cause wear and tear in the wrists and hands over time, potentially leading to long-term damage.
Common Conductor Injuries for yard and road service.
Working in a rail yard around moving rail cars and making up trains by switching cars from one track to another poses risks of falling, overstraining and even death. Repetitive stress or cumulative injuries from over use are common injuries for yard conductors.
Other common conductor injuries include:
- Electrocution accidents.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Repetitive use injuries.
- Hearing loss.
- Lead poisoning.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals.
What Is a FELA Claim?
Railroaders, including conductors, are typically not eligible to bring a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace accident. However, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) allows conductors to bring a claim against the railroad in certain circumstances.
Unlike a workers’ comp claim, a FELA claim allows injured workers to obtain economic and non-economic damages. However, FELA claims also require conductors to show their injuries resulted from the railroad’s negligence.
Common ways that an injured railroader can establish railroad negligence include:
- The failure to provide a safe working environment.
- The failure to provide adequate training.
- The failure to provide necessary management and supervision.
- The failure to warn workers about known hazards in the workplace.
- The use of potentially dangerous work quotas.
- Providing unsafe equipment for employees’ use.
Establishing negligence after a railroad accident is not always straightforward, as is a legal determination that requires advanced knowledge of personal injury laws and the railroad industry standards. Injured workers interested in learning more about their options should consult with an experienced railroad injury law firm for immediate assistance.
Sommers Schwartz Railroad Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you were injured while working as a conductor, you might be entitled to compensation through a FELA claim. At Sommers Schwartz, our dedicated railroad injury lawyers have a history of effectively pursuing fair compensation for injured railroaders.
The Sommers Schwartz railroad injury practice group is led by Arvin Pearlman, a nationally recognized authority in FELA claims. Since 1979, Mr. Pearlman has handled all types of FELA claims, making him one of the most experienced attorneys in this complex and unique area of the law. To learn more about how we can help you recover compensation for your work-related injuries, give us a call at 800-783-0989 today. You can also reach us through our online form.