Workers who sustain injuries while doing their job may file for workers’ compensation to cover the cost of their treatment, recovery and rehabilitation. Generally, they can file a claim no matter who was at fault for the injury, even if their negligence contributed to it.
In the case of railroad workers, injuries are under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) coverage. FELA differs from workers’ comp in several ways, and one key difference is how negligence might affect the outcomes of a claim.
Negligence and FELA claims
Injured railroad workers may generally file a lawsuit under FELA in any state or federal court. For their claim to succeed, they usually need to prove that their injury resulted entirely or partially from the negligent acts by the railroad, its officers and employees. These acts might include failing to provide adequate training or appropriate safety equipment.
Some railroad carriers defend themselves by accusing the injured worker of contributing to the injury through their own negligence. Even if this were true, the injured worker would likely still obtain compensation thanks to the doctrine of comparative negligence.
This doctrine holds that the injured party receives compensation reduced by the percentage of their contribution to the injury. For example, if the worker’s injuries entitle them to $10,000 in compensation, but the court finds they are 20% at fault, the worker will receive $8,000 instead.
Injured railroad workers can benefit from having an advocate who will help fight for and protect their rights in court. A skilled attorney can help them build a strong case and enhance their chances of securing favorable outcomes from their claim.