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What is a FELA Railroad Claim?

Posted on January 5, 2022 in Railroad Worker Safety

The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) is a United States federal law that protects and compensates railroad workers for the high risk dangers accompanying the job. As long as the worker can prove that the railroad was at least partly negligent in the cause of injury, the employer will be held liable for the working conditions. FELA exempts railroad employees from state workers’ compensation, which prohibits an injured employee from suing their employer. When filing a FELA railroad claim, employees are given the choice of starting a lawsuit in federal or state courts. 

FELA claim awards are usually higher than workers’ compensation claims. The jury determines the level of negligence and the amount to be given to the injured worker. FELA railroad claims cover other injuries such as asbestos exposure, stress and trauma injuries. The burden placed on the railroad industry by FELA has made working conditions a lot safer. However, the railroad industry is still a dangerous field to work in. FELA only protects railroad employees in the event that they are injured. 

It is important that you work with an experienced FELA railroad accident lawyer. Our top personal injury lawyers at Wettermark Keith have ample experience working with victims of railroad accidents. We are here to help and will not give up until you or your loved one receives the justice that they deserve. 

Who is Eligible to file a FELA Claim?

If you are a railroad worker who was injured on the job, you can file a FELA claim. If your employer was at fault for any of the following injuries while on the job, you may be eligible for compensation: 

  • Electrocution 
  • Disfigurement and loss of limb
  • Head injuries 
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Burns 
  • Ligament and tendon injuries
  • Crash injuries

This list does not consist of all possible injuries that may be sustained by railroad employees. There are many different causes to these injuries as well. If you or a family member has been injured on the job, see a doctor immediately after the accident and contact a lawyer to evaluate your case as soon as possible. 

Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one can be very difficult, especially when it is caused by someone else’s wrong doings. The lawyers here at Wettermark Keith are dedicated to you and/or your family to make sure that justice is served. While no amount of monetary value can bring back your loved one, the financial compensation can assist with any unexpected costs associated with the loss. We understand that this process can be very difficult. That is why we are here to guide you through the entire process. Contact a FELA railroad lawyer at our firm to start the process of filing your FELA railroad claim. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Damages May I Recover?

In order to recover money from your injury on the job, it must be proven that the railroad was in fact negligent to your injury. While the damages that FELA allows to be recovered varies, a list of potential damages that may be recovered include:

  • Past and future wage loss
  • Medical expenses
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Economic loss to your dependents (in the event of death)
  • Value of a lost limb or organ
  • Future fringe benefits

How Do I Know If Railroad Negligence Was the Cause of My Injury?

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which often leads to damages or injury. Your lawyer will help you determine if the railroad was legally negligent in your injury. Most of the time, your lawyer uncovers things that the client may not. A seasoned FELA lawyer will ask questions such as:

  • Were you warned of hazards on the work site?
  • Was proper training provided?
  • Was the train moving too fast?
  • Did something fall on or off the train?
  • Was there an operator error?
  • Did your employer allow unsafe conditions to continue under the knowledge of it being unsafe?

The list of questions that may be asked could go on in determining whether or not your injury was caused by railroad negligence. Get a free case evaluation today.

When Can I Return to Work After My Injury?

In order to return back to work after an on the job injury, you must be healthy. You will need a note from your doctor stating that you are healthy enough to return to work. In addition, it is important that your doctor understands that you work in the railroad industry and what your job consists of. The railroad is not allowed to force you back to work nor interfere with any treatment when you have been advised by your doctor not to work. Once you are allowed to return back to work, it is important that you monitor your injuries and report any issues to your doctor.