Protecting Whistleblowers & The Injured

What railroad workers need to know about FELA

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Railroad Injuries

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is essential for railroad workers across the United States. Understanding its provisions can help you protect your rights and navigate potential legal issues from workplace injuries.

What is the Federal Employers Liability Act?

The Federal Employers Liability Act protects and compensates railroad workers injured on the job. Unlike workers’ compensation laws, FELA requires you to prove that the railroad company acted negligently. You must also prove this negligence contributed to your injury.

Key provisions of FELA

Under FELA, you must demonstrate that your employer’s negligence played a part in your injury. This could involve unsafe working conditions, inadequate training, or failure to provide proper equipment.

If you bear partial responsibility for your injury, you can still recover damages. However, your compensation may decrease based on your share of the fault. FELA covers a range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages (both past and future), and compensation for pain and suffering.

Steps to take if injured:

  1. Report the injury immediately: Inform your supervisor or employer about the injury as soon as it occurs. Prompt reporting can be crucial for your case.
  2. Seek medical attention: Always prioritize your health and get medical treatment for your injuries. Make sure to keep detailed records of all medical visits and treatments.
  3. Document everything: Keep a comprehensive record of the accident, including photographs, witness statements, and any correspondence with your employer.
  4. Understand your rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights under FELA. Knowing what you are entitled to can help you make informed decisions.

Benefits of FELA over workers’ compensation

FELA often provides higher compensation than traditional workers’ compensation, especially for severe injuries. It also covers a wider range of damages, including emotional distress and loss of earning capacity.

Challenges under FELA

Although FELA offers significant benefits, it also presents challenges. Proving employer negligence can be complex, requiring thorough investigation and legal expertise. Additionally, railroad companies often employ robust legal teams to contest these claims.

Navigating the FELA landscape

While FELA provides robust protections and the potential for substantial compensation, you should consider the challenges to claiming it. Staying informed about your rights and taking appropriate steps if injured can help you navigate this complex legal landscape effectively.

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