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Lack of safety measures could complicate insurance defense

Every New York industry is required to follow certain safety regulations in order to protect its workers and the public. When a company and/or its employees do not follow those measures, accidents can happen. If an accident does happen, a lack of safety measures could complicate an insurance defense.

For instance, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently concluded its investigation into a crash on July 8, 2015 involving a New York and Atlantic Railway (NYA) freight train and a tractor-trailer. According to the FRA, the NYA cut corners that endangered the lives of employees and the public. Proper records were not being kept, there was a lack of training, and it was unclear whether certifications were current. The FRA also saw other issues such as grade-crossing safety as deficiencies.

Furthermore, in this particular accident, the locomotive engineer was found at fault for failing to follow the special instructions outlined for grade-crossings and for failing to follow operating regulations. The conductor was said to be at fault for not maintaining control of the train. Even though the cab of the tractor-trailer involved in this crash burst into flames and was dragged a couple hundred feet, the truck driver managed to escape with his life because he jumped out of the cab prior to it catching fire.

The lack of safety measures could cause issues for NYA's insurance defense counsel if lawsuits are filed in this crash. Accidents happen in every industry, but what often makes the difference for the companies involved is that they met or exceeded the safety requirements for their particular industry. Therefore, it is in every company's best interest to maintain safety standards not only to protect workers and the public but also to help avoid costly insurance issues in the event of an accident.

Source: timesledger.com, "Railway operator faulted for Maspeth train collision", Bill Parry, Oct. 3, 2016

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