Massachusetts transit workers injured by electric third rail

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Injuries, Workers' Compensation

Accidents can — and do — happen in all kinds of industries, all kinds of workplaces, and to all kinds of workers. Sometimes these accidents are due to unsafe working conditions. Other times, it’s impossible to say that they are anyone’s fault.

Electrical accident

Two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority employees were injured recently when a wire touched an electric third rail on light-rail train tracks, creating an arc flash. According to a news report, one worker was taken to a hospital and treated for burns on their hands and injuries to their eyes. Another worker was treated at the scene.

The MBTA has said it is changing its safety protocols in response to the accident. Workers now must turn off or place a protective covering over any third rail when working near one.

No-fault system

Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system is designed to help most workers in the state to receive medical care and other benefits after they are injured on the job. Importantly, these workers don’t have to prove that their working conditions were unsafe, or that their employer or anyone else did anything wrong. As long as the accident occurred in the course of their employment, they should be covered.

For the most part, workers can be covered even if the accident was their own fault. However, there may be exceptions. For instance, there is usually an exception for so-called horse play, in which workers were carelessly messing around while not actually performing their jobs.

Because of workers’ compensation’s no-fault nature, filing for workers’ compensation benefits is a much more streamlined process than filing a personal injury claim. However, there’s a tradeoff: An employee who collects workers’ compensation benefits after a work accident cannot then file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer if it involves the same accident.



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