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People who work for the railroads help keep the United States moving. While airplanes and commercial trucks have provided alternative ways for people and goods to move across the country, trains are still a direct and expedient way to transport people and materials.

Thousands of people put in a hard day’s work to keep the train systems operational, often with significant personal risk for injury. Whether you work in a maintenance position or actually work on a train, you have certain rights if you get hurt at work.

Since trains often travel between states, they are subject to different regulations than stationery business models. Specifically, injured employees who work for railroads often have to seek benefits through the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), rather than workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, there is an additional burden for benefits under FELA for injured workers.

To successfully claim benefits, you have to show negligence played a role

Most workers’ compensation claims get approved regardless of whether the employee played a role in their own injury or not. The exception to this would be employees who fail alcohol or drug testing after a workplace injury. In most other scenarios, even if an employee made a mistake, they will receive workers’ compensation benefits.

For FELA benefits, workers need to demonstrate that not only were they not at fault but their employer was at fault in some way. Negligence usually plays a key role in FELA claims. Negligence could include inadequate staffing, requiring employees to engage in unnecessarily dangerous tasks or failing to maintain equipment or facilities in a way that led to an injury. Anyone who believes negligence did play a role in their injury at their railroad job should look more into their rights.