FELA: Legal Remedies for Railroad-Worker Injuries

On behalf of McCann & Wall, LLC posted in Accident and Injury Law Blog, workers' compensation

What is FELA?

FELA stands for the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, a federal law enacted at a time of industrial development in the early 1900′s when railroad-worker injuries could be particularly gruesome. While its title does not indicate its purpose, FELA grants interstate railroad workers the right to sue their railroad employers for workplace injuries or death caused by employer negligence or violation of safety laws. FELA lawsuits can be brought in federal or state court.

Are FELA suits hard to win?

While every case is unique, the law favors workers in that the degree of negligence on the part of the railway employer must only be slight to establish complete liability, and employer negligence or safety violation need only be some part of the causation of the harm. In addition, railroad employers may also be held liable under FELA for negligent acts of co-employees that harm other workers.

What about workers’ compensation?

Having been enacted before workers’ compensation laws, FELA is an exception to the usual workplace-injury remedy of workers’ compensation benefits under state laws. FELA is almost always the only legal remedy for railroad-employee work-related injuries.
What kinds of injuries are common for railroad workers?

Railroad injuries have changed some with the development of the industry. Modern railway injuries are less often traumatic and consist more often of conditions that develop over time (called cumulative-trauma injuries or CTDs) like carpel tunnel syndrome, asbestos-related disorders, hearing loss, hernias, back injuries and arthritis.

What kinds of damages are available under FELA?

Monetary damages in a successful FELA claim may include compensation for lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering and more. If you or a loved one has been injured while working as a railroad employee, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options.

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