As a railroad employee, federal hours-of-service laws govern how long you can work without a rest break. And because your shift can end at a stop far from where you live, many railroads hire a transportation service to drive you home or to a hotel. These transportation services are commonly known as carryalls or “limos.” And while a ride home sounds good at the end of a long shift, you might be worried when you see the tired driver or the poor condition of the van he’s driving. But what choice do you have? You have to take the ride.
Five Common Injuries You Could Face in a Limo Accident
Limo services typically use small eight-passenger vans to transport railroad workers. They aren’t considered commercial vehicles, so there are no regulations on vehicle maintenance or how long a driver can drive without a rest break. This puts railroad workers at greater risk of being involved in an accident and facing the following injuries:
- Brain injuries. Brain injuries, which occur after a blow to the head, can be debilitating—resulting in some combination of cognitive, physical, emotional, or behavioral impairment. Even a mild injury can cause life-altering changes.
- Neck injuries. Milder injuries include whiplash and neck strain. More serious ones include cervical dislocation or spinal disc injury. Cervical dislocation, caused when discs in the neck are shifted, can result in difficulty breathing, lack of muscle coordination, and paralysis. In a spinal disc injury, the disc’s inner cushion swells and presses on surrounding nerves, resulting in excruciating pain, back spasms, and limitations on movements. Both are life-changing injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries. These are caused when bone fragments, bits of disc, or ligaments bruise or tear into the spinal cord tissue—often as a result of trauma. Damage to the spinal cord can result in in permanent changes in strength and sensation below the site of the injury; complete paralysis may be the outcome in severe cases.
- Back injuries. These can include sprains and strains in the muscles surrounding the spine, herniated discs which cause the membrane inside the discs to bulge and press against surrounding nerves, and fractured vertebrae. These injuries can cause life-long, debilitating pain and permanent limitations on your mobility.
- Internal injuries. Rib fractures are common motor vehicle accident injuries, and the jagged edge of a bone can puncture vital organs including the lungs, bowels, kidneys, liver, or heart. These are life-threatening injuries that require immediate medical treatment.
If you are a railroad worker who has been seriously injured in a limo accident, you may be able to pursue a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claim against your employer to cover your medical expenses, lost work, pain and suffering, and more. You may also have claims against the limo service or driver of the van. Start a live chat or to learn more about your legal rights and how to pursue them. Your case evaluation is free and there is no obligation.