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Buffalo Legal Issues Blog

Railroad law is intended to protect injured workers

Working on the railroad can be dangerous, particularly for maintenance and track engineer workers. A federal law that was put into place in 1908 was intended to protect railroad workers. It is called the Federal Employers Liability Law (FELA) and was intended to protect workers on Amtrak, commuter and freight rail lines working in New York and around the nation. As railroad law, it is not without its problems.

There are two recent cases of injured rail workers in another state who brought suits against the state for their injuries. The state transit agency claims immunity from such suits under FELA. In addition, the state agency had previously requested that a federal court drop similar suits claiming immunity based on the 11th Amendment that implies that as a state entity it enjoys immunity from suits filed in federal court.

Construction industry still has large percentage of fatalities

If you live here in Buffalo and work in the construction industry, you probably have more than one story to tell about a close call you or one of your co-workers lived through. Sadly, you may also have stories about co-workers or friends in the industry who suffered serious injuries or died on the job.

Many construction companies know that safety should remain at the forefront of their operations. They use the latest technology and ideas to keep their workers safe, but not every company creates an atmosphere in which you feel like your safety matters. The tone set by a company on a job site affects how you and the other workers view your safety.

Being charged with a DWI can be overwhelming

Being charged with drunk driving can be frightening and can have many negative affects on one's life. These can range from loss of a driver's license, loss of a job or to having to serve jail time in New York. It is also worth noting that there are other circumstances that can lead to one being pulled over on suspicion of a DWI. These can include fatigue or effects of medication.

A woman in Long Island was recently accused of drunk driving following an accident involving a construction truck. She faces a misdemeanor charge for driving while intoxicated as well as numerous vehicle and traffic violations. The incident occurred in the town of Greenburgh.

FELA offers protections for workers and companies

Working in a rail yard can be dangerous work in New York and elsewhere. A man in another state recently suffered a severe injury while performing his job. The Federal Employers Liability Act exists to protect workers and companies in such cases. Where workers' compensation regulations exist for other employee protections, FELA exists to protect railroad workers in the event of a serious workplace injury.

A worker was sorting empty rail cars when the accident occurred. He was setting a hand brake on the last of a string of cars when additional cars collided with them causing a car to roll over his left foot. He was wearing a steel toed boot but the accident left him with compound fractures that led to 13 surgeries. Complications led to the eventual amputation of his left leg beneath the knee. After rehabilitation, the worker returned to his job and intends to stay as long as he is capable of performing that job.

Workers' compensation and the scaffolding law

Construction work can be dangerous. Working on scaffolding at high elevations can increase that danger, particularly in a city like New York with its abundance of tall buildings and heavy pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. Workers' compensation is available in the event of an on-the-job accident and there is a law in place that is intended to help protect New York construction workers, not just in the city but also throughout the state.

The New York Scaffold Law exists to protect those construction workers. Nevertheless, it has come under attack from insurers as they cite it as a cause of increased construction costs. Under the law, if a company provides the necessary safety equipment, training and a safe environment, the company will not be held liable regarding scaffolding accidents.

Teens not immune from criminal charges

Being a teenager is not easy. The pressure to fit in can lead one into activities that can turn into serious legal problems. A pair of New York teenagers face charges for car theft in connection with multiple instances of stolen vehicles in the Buffalo area. The two are ages 18 and 15 and are facing criminal charges.

The two are believed to have been involved in a string of auto thefts dating back to October of last year. The teens allegedly look for cars that the drivers have left running while they run into a shop or other location. In a recent incident, the two are believed to have stolen a car with an infant in the back seat. A woman had pulled up to a liquor store and gotten out of the car, leaving it running with the keys in the ignition and her baby in the back seat. The teens allegedly got in the car and drove off.

New York train safety moves ahead with PTC deadline

Railways across the nation are working to install Positive Train Control (PTC), a complicated safety system designed to slow or stop trains that are traveling too fast or are heading for a collision or a misaligned track switch.

The installation deadline was Dec. 31, 2018, but many railroads received an extension if they made substantive progress toward installation.

How dangerous are car crashes to children?

Everyone has seen the “baby on board” sign in the back of some parent’s window, and for good reason. Children are at a great risk when in a car accident. When you get into a car crash with your young children in the car, it can be very dangerous.

Over the past few years, there has been a greater push to make sure everyone in the car is buckled up. Even though a lot of parents are getting better at properly restraining their children while in the car, but there are still risks. The truth is, car crashes still cause one in four unintentional deaths in children under the age of 13.

Fatal motor vehicle accidents increase over the holidays

The holiday season is a time for visiting with friends and family in New York. People take to the highways in great numbers to make those visits happen. Sadly, the increased traffic leads to an increase in the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. Some of the accidents that occur around the holidays are fatal.

A recent accident on Long Island resulted in the death of a couple from Suffolk County. The couple had been driving along Huguenot Drive when they were hit by a Ford Explorer. The accident happened around 10 p.m. The couple died at the scene.

Motor vehicle accidents increase during the holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, and that means that people are travelling to visit friends and family. Many will travel by car, which increases the likelihood of people becoming involved in motor vehicle accidents. A recent car crash in New York involved a woman travelling from Vermont.

A young woman from Vermont was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt north on route 9G. Another vehicle, a 1997 Ford Explorer, was travelling south. The accident occurred about 6 p.m. when, according to police reports, the Explorer apparently crossed the center line and hit the 2007 Chevrolet.

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