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California FELA Injury Law Blog

What is the current status of positive train control?

Positive Train Control ("PTC") is an advanced technological safety system designed to stop a train automatically, in certain circumstances.

If you work for a railroad, you have undoubtedly heard of PTC. Whether you are an engineer, conductor or passenger on a fast-moving train, you might take comfort in knowing there are safety systems available that can bring your train to a halt to prevent a collision.

The consequences of motor vehicle accidents can be life-altering

The impact of a brain injury can change not only the life of the victim but also his or her family members and close friends. The fact that many TBIs are hidden makes living with a brain injury even more difficult for crash victims in California and elsewhere. Brain injuries could be catastrophic even without external damage. Motor vehicle accidents often cause whiplash injuries in which the brain smashes into the inner walls of the skull, causing bruising, swelling and sometimes bleeding on the brain -- all of which could be invisible to others.

TBI can also be the result of slip or trip-and-fall accidents, depending on whether the person's head strikes a stationary object or a hard floor. The impact that such a brain injury can have on the victim depends on the area of the brain that is damaged. Along with physical injuries, emotional and financial consequences could be significant.

Truck accidents involving passenger vehicles can be catastrophic

Sharing the California roads with big rigs can be harrowing. The best line of defense for drivers of passenger cars is to learn to navigate safely around large trucks on the highways. There is no getting away from the fact that passenger vehicle occupants have little chance of escaping without serious injuries, or worse if they are involved in truck accidents. Typically, large trucks and buses need more space in which to stop and also to turn.

Drivers  of large vehicles have blind spots. If a car driver cannot see his or her vehicle reflected in the trucker's rear or side-view mirror, it is likely that the car is in a blind spot and not visible to the truck operator. When passing a large vehicle, it is a good idea to wait until both that vehicle's headlights can be seen in the mirror before moving back into the lane in front of the truck.

Catastrophic injuries like TBI can happen in the blink of an eye

Car accidents, falls or any other incident in which the head strikes a hard object or is shaken in a whiplash motion can cause traumatic brain injuries. Many Californians don't realize that even concussions suffered in sports activities can turn out to be catastrophic injuries. The severity of brain injuries is determined mainly by the area of the brain that is damaged, and the extent of the damage, regardless of whether the skull was penetrated.

The impact of a collision can cause the brain to crash against the inner walls of the skull, often several times as it moves rapidly from side to side. The damage caused to the brain might initially go unnoticed if there is no penetration through the skull. However, bleeding, bruising, and torn nerve fibers in the brain could cause swelling of the brain, exacerbating the severity of the injuries.

Truck accident involving a family's caravan kills 1, injures many

Whenever passenger vehicles and big rigs collide, the occupants of the smaller vehicles are almost always worse off. Such a truck accident happened in California on a recent Friday morning. One person died, and several others suffered injuries.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. when a 54-year-old big rig driver crossed over the center lines of Highway 4. The truck crashed head-on into an oncoming SUV before sideswiping the family's minivan. CHP reports that the big rig driver was arrested and booked into the county jail on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was treated for moderate injuries at a hospital.

Catastrophic injuries can happen in the blink of an eye

Accidents happen on the California roadways, in workplaces, theme parks and other facilities. Lives can change in the blink of an eye if catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage occur. While the immediate pain, extensive treatment, medical costs and loss of income could be overwhelming, severe damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis.

Messages to and from the brain are relayed through the spinal column, and damage to the nerve cells can block those messages. The spinal cord has four regions, and the level of paralysis depends on the location of the injury. The sacral region is the tailbone at the base of the spine, which, if injured, could cause loss of some function in the legs and hips. If the lumbar section -- the five vertebrae above the tailbone -- is damaged, all functions below that area can be paralyzed.

FELA injury claims: Hazards faced by railroad workers

Workplace hazards have always been par for the course for railroad workers in California and across the country. This is underscored by the numbers of Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) injury claims that are filed each year. Although improving the safety of these workers remains an ongoing process, many hazards can never be totally eliminated. 

FELA injury claims: Hit-and-run driver injures railroad worker

Railroad construction workers in California and across the country face multiple work-related hazards. The risks increase when construction on railroad tracks occurs where the workers are also threatened by vehicular traffic. The threat was underscored by an incident involving a hit-and-run driver that occurred in another state on a recent Tuesday morning. Fortunately, railroad workers injured on the job are typically allowed to file FELA injury claims for financial assistance.

According to a police department spokesperson, a railroad construction worker was rushed to a hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered when he was struck by a car. The injured man was a member of a maintenance crew doing routine work when the accident happened. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Many workers at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries like TBI

The long-term consequences of repeated concussions suffered by NFL players have received significant media coverage. However, workers in many industries in California face similar hazards. These include firefighters, construction workers, mineworkers and public safety workers who put their lives on the line every day. The risks of suffering work-related catastrophic injuries in these industries are high.

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen to anyone, from a business executive to a construction worker. If the person's head strikes a hard object during the fall, traumatic brain injuries can result. Even with the protection of hard hats, falling objects like collapsing beams can hit firefighters while they fight fires in burning buildings. Road accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries in commercial truck drivers and business travelers, and explosions such as those that are prevalent in grain elevators could leave a worker in a vegetative state as the result of a brain injury.

Motor vehicle accidents: Multi-vehicle crash kills tennis player

A hit-and-run crash on the 210 Freeway in California caused the death of a young tennis player. According to the California Highway Patrol's crash report, the wreck in the westbound lanes left the roadway covered in auto fluids like oil. This caused multiple motor vehicle accidents shortly after the initial collision that left one damaged car in the traffic lanes.

Reportedly, a 21-year-old female tennis player, a teammate and their coach were in an SUV that lost control and crashed along with three other vehicles. The woman was ejected from the SUV, causing critical injuries to which she succumbed later. Her teammate and the coach were both rushed to a hospital for treatment of their injuries.

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