Extreme fatigue among railroad workers is a well-documented epidemic in the United States. Take, for instance, this post on NTSB written by a former railroad worker who is now a supervisor of railroad accident investigators.
Last month's tragic Duck Boat accident that led to the drowning of 17 people on a Missouri lake likely came to the attention of lots of residents of the greater Saint Louis area on both sides of the river.
When drivers approach railroad crossings, they react depending on the type of signals at the time. For example, if the red lights are flashing, signaling that a train is arriving soon, then drivers come to a stop a certain distance from the tracks. At some places, a gate is added to tracks. The gates lower before the train is scheduled to arrive and arise when it is safe for cars to pass through again. These indicators ensure railroad crossings are safe for both the trains and vehicles. Unfortunately, they are not present at all of the 128,000 public railroad crossings in the country-only about a third of them have gates and flashing lights.
Many people in Illinois may be familiar with some of the basics of the typical personal injury case, but railroad and shipping accidents can present a whole other level of complexity. Car accidents are one thing, but an accident that occurred in a railroad or shipping situation can include different types of laws than the average personal injury case. They will also definitely different factual scenarios which, if the case goes all the way to trial, will likely be wholly unfamiliar to potential members of the jury.
Many people do not think about the impact that railroads and shipping over waterways still have in our daily lives. Advances in technology may make people think that these forms of transportation, particularly for products and goods, is outdated. However, the reality is far from that. Illinois residents can come into contact with railroads and maritime shipping more frequently than they think, particularly if they, or a loved one, is employed in these industries.
When a railroad worker gets hurt on the job in Granite City, Illinois, he or she has some special legal options which are not available to many other people who get hurt while at work.
The history of the United States is inextricably intertwined with the sea. From the earliest days, the country depended on ships and those who operate them, both for security and the economic advantage that comes from the ability to ship goods over large bodies of water. While many people may not think of Illinois as a maritime state, it is important to remember that the great lakes are, in fact, inland seas, and have been the center of waterborne commerce for two centuries.
Workers often face the risk of serious maritime and railroad injuries and exorbitant medical expenses in Illinois. Recently, a state appeals court affirmed a $21 million judgment for a conductor for the Northern Southern Railway Company who suffered a crushed foot in a work-related accident.
Those who choose a profession working on the water or railroads usually have a different approach to life and their daily duties. The fact that they also have different protections on the job is another way that they differ. The Jones Act is likely the most distinct difference in the protections that apply to a marine worker who suffers a work-related injury. Illinois residents who have suffered maritime and railroad injuries still have the right to file injury claims.
Regulations intended to prevent many maritime and railroad injuries are, in many cases, not issued until accidents occur and their causes are studied by agencies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board. A recent federal government decision, however, has blocked belated but necessary measures to prevent accidents caused by sleep apnea.