A conductor working for Alabama Southern Railroad died when the train he was guiding in reverse at a track switch ran over him. The fatal accident happened on the morning of October 30, 2016, on tracks owned by Kansas City Southern Railway outside of Artesia, Mississippi (MS).
The Federal Railroad Administration and both rail corporations have taken over the investigation into the deadly train crash in Lowndes County. News reports indicate that the conductor who lost his life had been in radio contact with the engineer in the train’s locomotive in the minutes before the collision. Investigators will need to determine why the communication stopped, why the engineer could not see the conductor, and whether any mechanical failures involving the train cars’ brakes and track signal devices occurred.
Numerous federal laws and regulations, as well as company policies, exist to protect the lives and safety of railroad employees who work on the ground around moving trains. Any violation of those statutory requirements and safe work environment guarantees makes a railroad responsible for paying personal injury and wrongful death claims following on-the-job accidents.
Succeeding with claims brought under the relevant law, the Federal Employers Liability Act, can be difficult, however. Companies can spend years trying to blame a victim for causing his or her own injuries or death when the truth of the matter is that the company failed to provide adequate equipment, training and oversight.
My Virginia-based FELA law firm colleagues and I have helped railroad workers and their families all across the country hold companies accountable for putting employees at risk. We hope the loved ones of the railroad conductor who died in what may have been a preventable work accident can find the answers and the compensation they deserve.