Trains are well known for the dangers that come from their size and weight. An early morning accident near Tampa that killed a train conductor is a recent example of those dangers.
The 36-year-old victim was acting as a spotter on the last car of a freight train that was pushing 10 cars loaded with gravel. When four cars derailed, the last car turned over and crushed him, burying him under the gravel load.
Emergency responders had to use a crane to recover the conductor's body. The car and its load may have weighed nearly 95 tons.
The accident occurred on a section of railroad under construction. The man's employer and owner of the train distributes aggregates across several Southern states. Investigation into the accident is still in its early stages. Investigators say several possible contributing factors need to be examined, including the train itself, the tracks and the train's speed just before the cars derailed.
The death of a loved one is usually emotionally catastrophic for surviving family members. Along with the grief may come financial problems if the family has to pay medical costs and funeral expenses. In this case, the family also lost a working member, which can have significant effect on the household's finances.
This accident is a reminder that workplaces can be dangerous and that prioritizing safety is important. Employers are responsible for maintaining safe workplaces for their employees. Any lapse in safety can have a fatal outcome.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if a fatality is caused by the actions or inactions of a negligent party. The family of the victim of a fatal workplace accident should seek the help of a legal professional to increase the probability of receiving an appropriate level of compensation from the employer or its insurance carrier.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Troopers identify man killed by derailed train car near Sanford SunRail station," Jerriann Sullivan and Jeff Weiner, Oct. 24, 2013