Railroad accidents are becoming more and more common as many businesses are relying on railroads for the delivery of their product. Working on a railroad can be extremely dangerous. However, if you are an employee of a railroad and injured at work, you can seek coverage for your injury through the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
FELA is a U.S. law. This law was enacted to protect railroad employees injured on the job. Prior to this law being passed, railroad workers had no right to recovery in any other avenue. Now, if a railroad employee can prove that the railroad company was at least partially responsible for their injury, they may be able to recover under FELA.
FELA is separate and distinct of workers’ compensation laws, but still acts in a way to protect injured workers. Workers must prove that their injury resulted from the recklessness or negligence of their employer in some way. Like worker’s compensation laws, proving that the injury happened “on the job” only means that the injury had to have occurred in the course or scope of one’s railroad work.
NOT Worker’s Compensation
Railroad employees who are injured will have an altogether different experience than those filing for worker’s compensation benefits. It should be noted that under FELA, railroad employees have to prove negligence, whereas State workers’ compensation statutes are “no-fault” systems.
Moreover, under FELA, an employer is not entitled to pay their railroad employee until it is court-ordered to do so. Thus, a lawsuit must be filed to collect benefits under FELA. It should be noted that FELA awards are typically larger than worker’s compensation awards.
This is because, employees can recover damages that include the following:
Railroad employees work with heavy machinery throughout most of their work shift. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the types of injuries that result from railroad accidents can be quite extensive. Injuries that occur as a result of a railroad injury may include:
Statute of Limitations
FELA has a statute of limitations dictating the time in which one has to file a lawsuit. FELA requires that a lawsuit be filed within three years from the day the cause of action occurred. This statute of limitations may be easier to follow for apparent physical injuries. However, it may create a problem where someone experiences a respiratory illness as a result of working on a railroad. In that case, the statute of limitations begins to run from the time the illness is discovered.
Navigating through the requirements of FELA can be cumbersome. Moreover, an injury that results from a railroad accident can be difficult in and of itself. An experienced attorney in our office would be glad to help you or a family member that has been injured as a result of a railroad accident. You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.