How FELA Claims Benefit Injured Railroad Workers
Railroading is among the most treacherous occupations in the United States making the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) the most cherished workplace safety assurance for railroad workers. Unlike most employees, when railroad workers sustain an injury at work they are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. Congress passed the FELA in 1908 to protect the rights and health of the thousands of railroad workers employed nationwide. If a railroad worker suffers injuries while on the job, FELA provides a basis for a legal claim to pursue legal recovery for the railroad worker and their families.
If you work on a railroad and you have been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of a railroad officer, manager or co-worker you may be eligible to take legal action and seek compensation for your injuries. FELA also allows injured workers to recover damages if defects in the railroad’s equipment, tracks, shops or property lead to the injuries.
Railroads have a duty to provide a workplace with reasonably safe working conditions for all employees. If a railroad fails to do so, and the employer’s negligence is found to play a part in causing a railroad worker to suffer injuries, the railroad company may be required to pay significantly high awards depending on the severity of the injury and losses.
When the workplace injuries result in the wrongful death of a railroad worker, the worker’s surviving spouse and children will be eligible to receive compensation under FELA. If the decedent does not have a spouse or any children at the time of death, the decedents surviving parents or other close family members would usually receive the compensation.
Recoverable compensation includes the following:
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain, suffering and mental distress
- Lost benefits
Take action now
Don’t hesitate to contact a skillful Railroad Injury Lawyer to be your guide through this difficult time. FELA claims generally have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If you do not file within the
Will my job be jeopardized?
It is easy to understand why anyone might be afraid of company retaliation as a result reporting an on the job injury. However, railroad workers can feel at ease knowing that the Federal Railroad Safety Act prohibits a railroad company from disciplining or discriminating against those who have reported an on the job injury. Railroad workers can exercise their FELA rights without fear.
It is a federal crime for railroads to discipline employees for providing information regarding a coworker’s FELA injury or to testify in support of injured workers. Many times workers have held back on reporting injuries or safety violations because they worried their employer would discipline them. If you would like more information regarding how you are protected from company retaliation you may visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
Why are these injuries taking place?
Although railroads operate under strict federal regulations, serious injuries on platforms, railroad crossings, along tracks and in other work areas continue to rise. When there is a failure to comply with the Code of Federal Regulations or when the railroad or another party is negligent, catastrophic injuries may occur. Factors that cause injuries to railroad workers include:
- Improper training
- Hours of Service Act violations
- Debris throughout the yard
- Broken engine seats
- Operator error
- Improper hazard warnings
- Lack of proper lighting in work zones
- The requirement to report to work in poor weather conditions
Common railroad injuries
Railroad workers are part of a high-risk industry that requires hands-on physical effort and precision. Even the slightest amount of carelessness can put many at risk of great danger. The injuries associated with railroad workers range from minor burns to career-ending injuries such as amputation. Some of the most commonly reported FELA claims include the following on-the-job injuries:
- Hearing loss
- Back or spine injuries
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Asbestos, cancer and mesothelioma
- Slip and fall injuries
- Bone fractures
- Crushing injuries
- Wrongful death
Seeking legal guidance
A railroad worker is required to prove fault and negligence on behalf of the railroad to recover under FELA. Only a seasoned FELA Lawyer can provide full legal advice for these complex cases. A qualified FELA lawyer has the essential experience and resources needed for preparation to go to trial. With a Carlson Law Firm attorney on your team, you can prove employer negligence as the cause of your injury.
Railroads have attorneys and trained claim agents who are paid to protect their company’s interest. They will begin collecting evidence against you from the moment your injury occurred. This makes it critical to have a FELA attorney in your corner protecting your rights. A good FELA lawyer possesses valuable insight into the challenges railroad workers face. A Carlson Law Firm attorney can build a strong case and compelling argument with the goal of obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
If you or a loved one was injured while working on a railroad, contact our firm today to discuss your legal options. FELA Attorneys here at The Carlson Law Firm have the knowledge and resources to navigate your claim through the legal system and ensure you are receiving proper medical treatment for a healthy recovery. Additionally, we will pursue the maximum compensation on your behalf. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us for a free case evaluation. We care, we can help.
- Written by Adriana Torres