Railroad industry work can be dangerous. Despite safety protocols, accidents and injuries can still happen. If you are injured while working for a railroad company, you may be eligible for compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Read on to find out what you need to know about FELA claims.
Understanding FELA Claims
Railroad workers face unique risks on the job, and unfortunately, accidents do happen. The Federal Employers Liability Act is a federal law that was enacted by the United States Congress in 1908 to protect injured railroad workers by ensuring they receive appropriate compensation. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, FELA requires injured workers to prove the railroad company was negligent in causing their injuries. This means that injured workers need experienced legal representation to navigate the complex process of filing a FELA claim and proving negligence.
Who is Eligible for FELA Claims?
Railroad employees who sustain injuries while on the job are eligible to file FELA claims. This includes, among others:
- Track laborers
- Maintenance workers
FELA provides compensation for injuries caused by employer negligence or unsafe working conditions. However, to be eligible for compensation, the injured worker must provide evidence that their injury was caused by negligence. Seeking representation from an experienced FELA attorney is crucial to ensure that their rights are protected and that they get the compensation they deserve.
What Injuries Does FELA Cover?
Railroad workers face a wide range of injuries daily, from physical harm to psychological trauma. FELA claims cover all injuries caused by railroad employer negligence or unsafe working conditions, ensuring that an injured worker can receive compensation for their losses. This law covers accidents, repetitive stress injuries, and even exposure to toxic materials; it’s not just limited to physical harm. An experienced FELA attorney can help ensure that the victim’s legal rights are protected and they receive fair compensation for their injuries.
Steps to Filing a FELA Claim
When an employee is injured while working for a railroad company, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Filing a FELA claim is an important step in protecting your rights and ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve. The process of filing a claim can seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance, it can be manageable. The key steps involved in filing a FELA claim include:
Filling Out a Report
After sustaining an injury while working as a railroad employee, filing a report is the first step in initiating a FELA claim. This report should contain all relevant details about the injury, including when and how it occurred.
To ensure that your claim is properly evaluated, it’s essential to be as detailed as possible while filling out the report. It is crucial to file this report with your employer or supervisor as soon as possible after the incident takes place. If you are unable to file the report yourself, someone else can do so on your behalf.
Consulting an Attorney
Navigating the legal process of a FELA claim can be overwhelming, which is why consulting an experienced FELA attorney is crucial. An attorney who specializes in FELA injury claims can provide you with invaluable guidance and support throughout the entire process. They will have the necessary expertise to help you gather evidence, assess damages, and negotiate with the railroad company on your behalf.
Choosing an attorney who understands the unique challenges faced by injured railroad workers will increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome in your case. With their legal expertise and support, you can focus on healing while they handle all legal aspects of your FELA claim.
Gathering evidence is a crucial aspect of filing FELA claims. In order to build a strong case, it’s important to collect as much evidence as possible, including:
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Photos of the scene
This evidence can help prove negligence on the part of the railroad company and support your claim for compensation. It’s also important to document any injuries or damages caused by the accident and keep track of all medical expenses.
In order to receive compensation under FELA, it’s critical for an injured railroad worker to establish that their employer was negligent. This can be a challenging task and might require the assistance of an experienced FELA attorney. Examples of employer negligence include failure to provide safe working conditions or inadequate training for employees.
Filing the Claim
FELA claims can be filed in either state court or federal court. In some situations, it may be prudent to commence a FELA lawsuit in a federal court, while in other cases, quicker results may be obtained in the local court.
When filing a FELA lawsuit, it’s crucial to act quickly and consult with a seasoned attorney. Your claim must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is generally three years from the date of the injury.
Should I See a Company Doctor?
When a worker seeks medical treatment for a railroad injury, it’s essential to understand your rights under the law. While you have the right to choose your own doctor, some may opt for the convenience of seeing a railroad doctor. However, it’s important to recognize that a company doctor may prioritize the company’s interests over yours. If you’ve already seen a company doctor, you have the right to request a second opinion from a doctor of your choice.
What Damages Are Recoverable Under FELA?
FELA claims allow injured railroad workers to recover compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Family members of deceased workers can also seek compensation for wrongful death under this law.
What If I Partly Caused the Accident?
Injuries can occur due to a variety of reasons, and sometimes the employees themselves may be partly responsible. If you are injured on the job but have contributed to the accident in some way, you may still be eligible to receive compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act.
The amount of damages awarded will depend on the percentage of fault assigned to you. Do not let your role in the accident discourage you from seeking legal help. An experienced railroad injury attorney can guide you through the FELA claims process and ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.
Don’t Settle Directly with Railroad Companies
When railroad workers are injured on the job, they may face pressure from their employer to settle quickly. However, settling directly with a railroad company can leave injured workers with inadequate compensation. The Federal Employers Liability Act provides protection for railroad workers who are injured on the job by allowing them to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
It’s crucial for injured workers to consult with an experienced attorney before settling any claim with a railroad company. An attorney can help navigate the legal process and ensure that the injured employee rights are protected. By working with an attorney, injured workers can increase their chances of receiving full compensation and avoid being taken advantage of by railroad companies looking to protect their bottom line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Time Limitations On Bringing the Claim?
Yes, there are time limitations on bringing a Federal Employers Liability Act claim. Typically, the statute of limitations for FELA claims is three years from the date of injury or diagnosis of an occupational illness. Failure to file within the statute of limitations can result in the forfeiture of your right to compensation.
How Long Does the FELA Claims Process Take?
The length of the FELA claims process can vary depending on the complexity of the case. It may take several months to several years to resolve a claim. However, hiring an experienced Federal Employers Liability Act attorney can help expedite the process and ensure your rights are protected.
What is my FELA claim worth?
The value of your Federal Employers Liability Act claim is dependent on several factors, such as the extent of your injuries and their effect on your ability to work. Economic damages, including medical expenses and lost income, are typically included in FELA claims. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering may also be considered when determining the worth of your claim.
To better understand how much your claim could be worth, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who can help evaluate the potential value of your case.
Get Help with FELA Claims
FELA claims exist to help protect the rights of injured railroad employees. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury while working for a railroad company, consult a Louisiana train accident attorney at Lambert Zainey Smith & Soso. We will help guide you through this process and ensure that you receive fair compensation. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation regarding your FELA claim.