Accidents involving trains point to gaps in safety measures used by the railroad industry. While train derailments are rare, these accidents still happen in the United States each year and can cause injuries to railroad employees. Anyone who suffers from railroad work injuries should consult with a legal professional to learn more about their rights. A railroad accident lawyer is skilled in helping individuals get the compensation they need and deserve when an accident occurs because of negligence. Employees who experience hearing loss or respiratory ailments while working for the railroad should also contact a FELA attorney. Amtrak Train Derailment The safety of the railroad industry was recently called into question when an Amtrak train from New Orleans that was headed for New York was derailed in South Carolina. While no one was seriously injured during the derailment, the situation had the potential to hurt hundreds of passengers. Seven cars were bumped off of the track during the incident, and passengers were forced to wait in the freezing cold for hours before alternate forms of transportation arrived. Many of the passengers were headed to New York to visit family for Thanksgiving. Electricity in the train was restored shortly following the accident, but only two cars were able to be heated while passengers waited. Victims of accidents like the South Carolina train derailment may suffer from injuries that do not show up right away. Seeking medical attention and consulting with a lawyer is important for this reason. Life-long medical conditions that start after a railroad accident could take months or years to manifest. Safety in the Railroad Industry While the passengers aboard the train that derailed in South Carolina were lucky to avoid being injured, railroad accidents that occur every year in the U.S. result in injuries and even fatalities. One reason that derailments and other accidents are becoming more common is because of an increase in railroad congestion. Freight trains are being increasingly used today, but the miles of available track for these trains to travel on has been reduced significantly. Collisions are more likely with the high concentration of trains traveling on the tracks each day. This is especially true when freight trains are expected to maintain certain speeds in order to make the method of shipping goods worth the cost for manufacturers. FELA Protection For Railroad Workers The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) offers protection to railroad workers who are injured in an accident. This law goes beyond workers’ compensation by allowing railroad workers to collect compensation for pain and suffering resulting from railroad related injuries. However, workers who seek compensation under FELA are required to prove that someone acted negligently to cause the incident. Passengers on a train are also able to seek compensation in the event that they are injured due to the negligence of another person. Getting Help After an Injury The unfortunate truth is that passengers and railroad workers often become victims when safety procedures are ignored on the railroad. Congested tracks carrying passengers and freight trains make accidents more likely. Compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering is available for victims of train derailment and other railroad accidents. Victims of train accidents have the right to seek compensation if their injury is caused by the negligence of another person. There are laws protecting people who work or travel on the railroad, but understanding the rights afforded through these laws can be confusing. A railroad accident lawyer is able to analyze the situation and apply laws to the specific events to determine how to best fight for the rights of their client. Some law firms even offer free initial consultations, so there is no reason to put off contacting a legal professional for help.