FELA Allows Railroad Workers to Recover Damages for Work Injuries
Railroad workers face numerous hazardous working conditions on a daily basis. This reality forces many workers to suffer physical and financial hardships after being injured on the job. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) offers protection for railroad workers throughout the country by providing mechanisms for workers to recover damages for injuries sustained while on the job. It also provides railroad companies with liability standards for workplace safety.
Almost all workers employed by a railroad company are protected under FELA if they are injured while working, even if their primary duties are not performed in or by trains. Injured railroad employees can file claims under FELA directly to their employer or railroad company, in addition to filing a lawsuit in state or federal court against the responsible employer or company.Proving Liability in Lawsuits
Injured workers filing claims under FELA are required to show that the employer or railroad company was negligent, and that this negligence ultimately caused the worker's injury.
Under FELA, railroad companies and employers have a duty to protect workers and provide a safe environment. Violation of the following duties can result in a finding of liability under FELA:
- Provide reasonably safe work environment, equipment, tools and safety devices
- Inspect the work environment to ensure it is free of hazards
- Provide adequate training, supervision, assistance and help to employees
- Ensure workers are safe from harmful intentional acts of others
- Enforce safety rules and regulations
The amount of fault or "burden of proof" required in a FELA claim is less than the amount of fault in an ordinary negligence claim. Injured workers only need to show that the employer was negligent in some way and that their negligence played a role in causing the worker's injuries.
If a railroad company has violated federal safety standards, an injured worker only needs to show that the law in question was violated and that the worker was injured. It is important for injured railroad employees to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help prove liability and/or non-compliance with federal safety standards, as it is easier to prove negligence if safety standards have been violated.
Successful lawsuits under FELA can recover compensation for:
- Past and future wage losses
- Past and future medical treatment and expenses
- Past and future pain, suffering and mental distress
If a railroad workplace injury results in the death of railroad worker, the worker's surviving spouse and children or surviving parents may be able to receive compensation under FELA.
If you or a family member has been injured while working for a railroad company or employer, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your case under FELA.