Two freight trains collided head-on early Sunday morning in Hoxie, Arkansas. The accident occurred at about 3 a.m. in the small northeastern town. Two union workers were killed in the accident, and two more were transported to area hospitals. The names of these individuals have yet to be released.
A resulting fire took nearly 7 hours to extinguish—forcing authorities to ask about 500 people to leave their homes in case the fire spread. Most residents were allowed to return home by midmorning on Sunday.
The fire involved both diesel and an unknown alcoholic beverage. According to Arkansas Department of emergency Management spokesman, Kendell Snyder, a tank car ruptured in the accident. The chemicals did not constitute an environmental problem.
Michael Hiller, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board explained that a northbound and a southbound train were operating on the same track. Investigators are looking into the cause of this mistake.
Highways 67 and 63, Hoxie, Arkansas’s main highways were closed for several hours during the investigation. Highways 67 and 230 are likely to remain closed for as many as three days as crews work to clear the wreckage.
What is the Difference between FELA and Workers’ Compensation?
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a U.S. federal law that protects railroad employees and their families if they are injured on the job.
In regular workers’ compensation cases, an employee does not have to prove that a company was negligent or otherwise at fault for their injuries. As long as they were on the clock at the time of injury, they can receive their benefits. In exchange, the injured employee is not allowed to sue for any additional damages. (well, at least most of the time). Under FELA railroad workers who are not covered by regular workers’ compensation laws are able to sue companies for their partial or permanent disability, wage loss, and death.
FELA protects employees from railroad companies that may otherwise cut corners on safety regulations in an effort to save money. In theory, the threat of punitive damages is enough to keep companies in check. However, employees must prove that a railroad company has been legally negligent and that their negligence ultimately led to the injury or death. That can be an extremely difficult task.
The FELA and railroad accident attorneys at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers are experienced in fighting for the rights of those who are injured in accidents, and on the job. If you have more questions about FELA, workers’ compensation or any other personal injury matter, don’t hesitate to call. You should never pay for an initial consultation with us, or any personal injury law firm.