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Railroad accidents and the FELA process

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | On The Job Accidents

The vast network of railroads crisscrossing the nation is vital for transporting goods and people. Unfortunately, working in the railroad industry is inherently dangerous, as workers face unique risks daily.

Railroad accidents have the potential to cause severe and life-altering injuries. If you’re a railroad worker who has been injured in an accident, understanding your rights and the legal process that you’ll now need to navigate may be crucial to preserving your interests and well-being.

How FELA can help injured railroad workers

Unlike most industries where workers’ compensation applies, railroad workers injured on the job have the option to pursue compensation through The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Enacted in 1908, FELA is a federal law that establishes specific liability standards for railroad companies in work-related injury cases.

Unlike the no-fault system of workers’ compensation, FELA requires the injured railroad worker to prove that the railroad company’s negligence partially or fully caused their injuries. The company’s negligence can manifest in various forms, such as:

  • Failing to provide proper training
  • Neglecting to maintain safe working conditions
  • Violating safety regulations

Additionally, FELA allows for broader compensation compared to workers’ compensation. It covers not only medical expenses and lost wages but also pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity and even wrongful death in the case of fatalities.

Navigating the FELA process

The FELA claims process can be complex and requires careful navigation. A simplified breakdown of the key steps can help you know the most essential requirements:

  • Seek medical attention: This is paramount, both for your health and potential legal claims. Documenting your injuries through medical records is crucial evidence.
  • Report the injury: Notify your employer promptly about the accident and your injuries.
  • Investigation and evidence gathering: Evidence, including witness testimonies, accident reports and medical records, is required to establish negligence on the railroad’s part.
  • Negotiation and settlement: Often, cases are settled out of court through negotiation with the railroad company’s representatives.

Through a FELA claim, you can seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and disability.

Railroad accidents can be life-altering events, and seeking compensation can be a complex undertaking. By understanding your rights under FELA and seeking legal counsel, you can better navigate the legal process and more effectively work to receive the compensation you deserve.