Tennessee workers in any field or industry risk becoming injured in an on-the-job accident. Some of the most dangerous job sites may include those with large machinery or vehicles. A recent lawsuit filed by one out-of-state worker demonstrates just how serious and dangerous work sites involving trains can be, even if the worker is not on board. Often, these extreme work environments lead to injuries that may result in workers' compensation claims, which is the first step for most Tennessee workers. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding an accident or injury can be complicated and involve negligence by parties other than the worker's employer, leading to other claims, as our recent story demonstrates.
The lawsuit involves a worker who was injured while working the site of a train derailment. According to reports, a train derailment in Oct. 2012 led to several clean-up crews being contracted. One worker claims that an explosion occurred at the job site when the crew he was working with began to separate two cars with a cutting torch. Apparently, the cars had been leaking butadiene gas, which ignited when the torch was lit. The worker claims that he sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
The lawsuit claims that the train company, CSX Transportation Inc., the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health LLC, and other companies involved in the derailment clean-up efforts, failed to provide a safe working environment. The claim alleges that each company did not properly monitor the site. In addition, it is alleged that the companies gave the "go ahead" for the cutting torch to be used, while dangerous gasses were present.
Worker's compensation claims are effective in providing workers with benefits to cover medical expenses and lost income. Even so, workers' compensation may not consider pain and suffering and other losses caused by an accident, which may spawn lawsuits like this one against third parties deemed negligent, particularly because employers providing workers' compensation coverage is generally protected from lawsuits by employees alleging negligence. Tennessee laws protect workers injured on the job, which help them regain her livelihood. Injured workers may benefit from investigating their rights under both workers' compensation and personal injury laws. While the results of this lawsuit remain unclear, it may be that this injured worker successfully received workers' compensation benefits to cover his expenses and lost wages immediately following the accident.
Source: Madison-St. Clair Record, "CSX and others sued in St. Clair County over Kentucky train derailment," Andrea Dearden, March 20, 2013