The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a report that says that the accident that killed two track inspectors involved operator error. The report says that Lynette Harris, the driver of the Yellow Line train that killed two people on November 30, 2006, did not follow proper operating procedures and lied to federal investigators when she told them that she was not on her cellular phone while on duty.
The report says that both the workers and the operator did not follow proper protocol. However, the report also says that there aren’t enough proper procedures set up to make sure that track workers and train drivers communicate properly with one another.
Harris, who had departed from the Huntington Avenue Station in Alexandria, Virginia, violated Metro procedure by not asking the control center for permission to drive on the main tracks. She also lied to investigators when she said she was not using her personal cellphone while operating the train. Her phone records, however, indicate that she was on the phone right before the 9:30 am accident took place. Metro employees are not allowed to use their personal cellphones while working.
The two track workers, Matthew Brooks and Leslie A. Cherry, were hit by the empty train on the morning of November 30. Cherry died the day of the accident. Brooks died on November 7.
Train Accidents and FELA
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act of 1907 (FELA) provides coverage to train workers who are injured on the job. Unlike regular workers’ compensation, the injured party must prove that the accident was caused—at least partially—by a party affiliated with the train system or railroad company.
Proving negligence can be hard, which is why it is important to have a train accident attorney, who understand FELA and other railroad-related regulations, on your side. If you are a surviving family member of a train worker who was killed while on the job, your train crash lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation by pursuing a FELA lawsuit on your behalf.
The statute of limitations for filing a FELA claim/lawsuit is three years from the date that the accident took place.
Errors Are Found In Metro Accident, Washington Post, October 26, 2007
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