Cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and train cars have been co-existing for more than 100 years. And for that long, there has been risk associated with areas where trains and other traffic cross paths. In the past, low-tech methods of keeping people safe at crossings involved a person waving a flag or igniting a lantern.
Train accidents sometimes happen in West Virginia and around the country. One in New York demonstrates what can happen when engineers, brakemen and conductors are negligent.
When West Virginia railroad workers are injured on the job, they must proceed under the Federal Employers Liability Act instead of under the state's workers' compensation program. The law, which was passed in 1908, is meant to protect railroad workers who are injured while working. Unlike workers' compensation, however, FELA is a fault-based law. This means that the railroad must be shown to have been at least partially responsible for the accident.