Van Transportation Accidents
Railroad employers have a “non-delegable” duty to provide their employees with a safe workplace. This includes providing safe transportation for employees who need to be driven to and from their on-duty point.
Renzenberger, Inc. is a company that provides transportation services for the rail industry. Founded in 1983, and headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, Renzenberger also provides transportation services to customers in the oil and gas, manufacturing and airline industries. It has over 1,800 vehicles operating in 34 states.
Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Hallcon also provides railroad corporations with crew transportation. Hallcon, a portfolio company of Southfield Capital, acquired Renzenberger, Inc. in 2013.
Professional Transportation, Inc., (PTI) is yet another railroad employee van transportation company, with corporate headquarters located in Evansville, Indiana. PTI is one of a group of companies known collectively as United Companies.
Renzenberger, Hallcon, PTI and other van company drivers are hired by railroads to transport railroad workers to and from the trains, for dead-heading moves, as well as to assist in other railroad operations.
Unfortunately, Renzenberger’s, PTI’s and Hallcon’s drivers are often poorly trained and overworked by management, causing them to drive while fatigued, exposing railroad employees and the traveling public to an increased risk of injury.
The experienced lawyers at Hildebrand McLeod & Nelson LLP have successfully litigated many lawsuits against these van transportation companies on behalf of seriously injured passengers and their families.
When a worker is injured while being transported in a company-provided vehicle, the railroad can be responsible, even if it was the van company’s driver who caused the injury through reckless driving.
This is true because when a company such as Renzenberger, Hallcon, Milepost or PTI is contracted to perform work necessary for the railroad’s operations, that company becomes the “agent” of the railroad. Under these circumstances the railroad is responsible to the employee, who can pursue compensation through an FELA claim.
As well, the Van Company is independently responsible to the passenger/employee if the van driver was negligent or the van was unsafe. Different laws, other than the FELA, apply to claims brought against the Van Companies directly.
There are some circumstances when neither the van company nor the railroad did anything wrong. In those cases, compensation for harm can only be found if there is an independent party (another driver or municipality, for example) who is at fault. In such cases, there may also be uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage available, depending on the type of policy held by the injured passenger.
Every type of lawsuit has a statute of limitations that requires the injured person to file suit in court within a specified time. Under the FELA, the statute of limitations is three years but in some states the time for filing an injury lawsuit can be as little as one year. While bringing a claim against a city or another governmental entity, there are requirements to notify the city or entity within as short of a time period as 90 days. Each case must to be analyzed carefully, as soon as possible, so that no deadlines are missed. We recommend that you immediately get legal advice to make sure you do not lose any rights.
Similarly, railroad workers often suffer injury due to the negligence of other companies that were acting as the railroad’s agents. They include lay over facilities such as Holiday Inn, Super 8, Oak Tree Inn, etc.
If a worker is injured at a company-provided hotel or motel, at an industry or on another railroad’s tracks, the worker is still covered by the FELA, in many situations, for an injury claim against the railroad that employs that worker.
Employees of companies such as Parsec, Jimco and others that work under the control of the railroad, as “independent contractors” of the railroad, may also be covered by the FELA. In some states, an injured worker may have a claim under state law against the railroad even if he/she is not a “railroad employee,” for purposes of the FELA.
There is a reason that railroads hire only experienced lawyers to defend them in lawsuits by employees. It is because experience matters. In order to maximize your recovery, you should make sure that the lawyer you hire has successfully handled and tried FELA cases of every type. Each case is different and must be analyzed individually. So, if you have any questions, please contact us at your earliest convenience.