Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) / Railroad Injury Attorneys
If you work for a railroad transportation company and you were injured on the job, there is a special law called the Federal Employers Liability Act which provides and affords special protections for injured employees while working on the Railroad. FELA operates in a similar fashion to workers compensation. In a FELA case, unlike workers compensation, an injured railroad employee can sue their employer and may recover for pain and suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) / Railroad Injuries
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Yes. Even if you are found to be partly at fault, so long as you are not 100% at fault for your injury, FELA allows for an employee to sue their employer.
An injured railroad worker must prove that injury was caused by the negligence of the railroad company, other employees, agents, or contractors, or from a defective or faulty product or piece of equipment provided by the Railroad. Strict or absolute liability against the railroad may be imposed if the railroad violated a safety statute or regulation.
FELA lawsuits can be brought in either State or Federal Courts. It is important to work with a railroad injury attorney with knowledge and experience in FELA lawsuits who can explain the pros and cons to appropriately choose the jurisdiction right for you and your case.
If you have been hurt while working on the railroad, it is important that you notify your supervisor of the nature and extent of your injuries and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also contact your union representative immediately. It is always best to contact an experienced railroad injury lawyer before making any statements or providing information to a claims representative.
Yes. Like many other personal injury cases, FELA cases use the comparative negligence standard. This means a percentage of fault will be assessed against the injured railroad worker and the railroad. Any award would then be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you suffered a severe injury and were awarded 1 million dollars, and a judge or jury determined the fault responsibility to be 25% for the injured worker and 75% for the railroad, the 1 million dollar verdict would be reduced by 25% to $750,000.
You may be entitled to benefits under the Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits or supplemental disability benefits. You should contact your union representative to see what benefits are available for you.
FELA applies to injuries on the railroad that can range from falls from heights, defective equipment, asbestos exposure, repetitive stress, and cumulative trauma injuries.
In a FELA case, you can seek past and future wage loss; out of pocket expenses; past and future pain and suffering; psychological treatment; past and future medical expenses. In a wrongful death case, dependents can seek economic loss for the death of a family member.
The value of an injury to an injured railroad worker depends on the severity of the injury, the amount of time lost from work, whether the railroad employee can return to work, and the permanency of the injury. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled FELA and railroad worker injuries to help obtain the best outcome for you.
While you are not required to have an attorney handle your case, it is always better to contact an experienced railroad injury attorney as they will have the knowledge and skill to help obtain the best verdict or resolution for you.
The length of a case for a person injured while working on the railroad varies. For information on the general time frame of a personal injury, see the timeline below. The amount of time a case takes depends on many factors including the extent of the injuries, whether the case will be litigated or settled, how the injury occurred, and whether you are able to return to work. Often, you need to wait some time to determine the answers to these questions. An experienced railroad injury attorney will be able to help guide you through the process.
No. While you may have to be examined by a railroad doctor, you have the right to treat with any doctor or physician of your choice for your injuries. You should make sure the doctor that you treat with accepts your insurance or you may otherwise be responsible for the costs associated with seeing the physician.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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