If you were injured in a railroad accident while working for or on a railroad, your case will likely fall under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA). This federal law directs railroads to maintain their fleets, ensuring that their trains are in good working order and free of defects. If a railroad fails to comply with FELA standards, it may be found 100% liable for your damages.
Before FELA was passed in 1908, thousands of railroad workers were killed on the job each year. Unlike other workers, railroaders are usually exempt from coverage under state workers’ compensation. FELA was created to give injured railroad workers their own remedy; and it allows them to recover damages based on the negligence of a railroad company. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care.
WHAT ARE FELA LAWS?
FELA applies the concept of “comparative negligence” to all railroad accident claims filed under the statute. With “comparative negligence,” even if a judge or jury apportions part of the responsibility for the incident to the worker, the injured worker still recovers a monetary award equal to the railroad’s percentage of negligence. Under the majority of states’ laws, if an injured person is found 51% or more negligent, they recover nothing.
Under current FELA law, the damages an injured railroad worker may receive include:
- Medical treatments
- Present and future lost wages
- Mental trauma
While FELA does have a three-year time limitation within which an injured railroad worker can file a lawsuit, it is important to get a train accident attorney involved early to preserve evidence.
WHAT IS THE RAILROAD’S DUTY TO THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Railroads are required to provide employees with a reasonably safe workplace under FELA. The railroad cannot delegate this responsibility, since it is considered a non-delegable duty. Evidence of railroad negligence, however, can be difficult to establish.
Railroads must keep up with the following responsibilities:
- Assure that proper training and education is provided;
- Ensure adequate supervision;
- Identify and correct unsafe conditions;
- Task workers according to their capabilities;
- Provide reasonable safety precautions for employees;
- Provide tools and equipment that are reasonably safe, which includes safety devices;
- Maintain a reasonable level of safety at your workplace, free of unsafe conditions; and
- Alert others to hazardous conditions.
The railroad can be deemed negligent if it fails to meet a standard of care or violates a law. The Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act, or regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are examples of rules or laws that should not be broken. In a FELA claim, our Louisiana lawyer can assist the claimant in proving negligence.
COMMON TRAIN ACCIDENT INJURIES
Rail workers face serious bodily injury risks every day, and when an accident occurs, it can be devastating. Sadly, many victims are left with permanent injuries that require ongoing care. It can be financially crippling for workers to pay for medical treatment in times of emergency, and many workers are forced out of work to recover. FELA provides you with the right to file a lawsuit for monetary damages if your accident is a result of the negligence of your employer. You can hire an experienced train accident attorney to help you.
Traumatic injuries with resulting lawsuits most often include the following:
- Back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ear and hearing injuries
- Head trauma and brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Neck injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
CAN RAILROAD WORKER ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN LOUISIANA RECOVER DAMAGES?
In Louisiana, you may be eligible for the following types of damages if you have been injured in an accident involving a railroad.
- Loss of income
- Lost earning power (when an injured person returns to work but not to the same level as before the accident)
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Bills for medical treatment
- Disgrace and humiliation
Under FELA, judges and juries have no limit on what damages they may award.
Contact a Louisiana Train Accident Attorney Today
Railroad companies are large, established corporate giants. They often have unlimited resources with which to fight the claims of individual injured workers. You need to have an experienced team of FELA lawyers fighting for your legal rights.
At Lambert, Zainey, Smith & Soso, we have over 35 years of experience trying cases. Though we are located in Louisiana, we handle some of the toughest cases across the country. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a railroad accident, please contact our accident injury attorneys today for a free consultation.