Injured on the railroad? Know your FELA facts
In the late 1800s, the average railroad worker could expect to survive the job a mere seven years. If you have researched U.S. railroad history, you may know that a major public outcry regarding unsafe working conditions prompted the enactment of certain laws meant to protect railroad workers by allowing them to pursue litigation against negligent employers. As you may also know, if you’re familiar with the workers’ compensation program, most employees in non-railroad jobs are prohibited from filing personal injury claims against their employers.
oyers Liability Act became law in 1908. As a railroad worker in 2018, this law still applies to you, and if you suffer injury on the job, you will want to clearly understand the FELA process and how it can help you seek recovery for your losses. Thankfully, there are support networks in place to provide all of the information and guidance necessary to navigate the civil justice system regarding railroad injury claims.
Things you need to know about FELA
Long ago, employers often intimidated injured railroad workers to keep them from sharing information about their accidents. The FELA protects you from such harassment by making such intimidation a criminal offense. The following facts provide other important information regarding the FELA, along with how it can help you seek compensation for damages following a workplace injury on the railroad:
- If you plan to seek recovery under the FELA, you must show evidence that railroad administrators were negligent. You must also provide evidence to show that such negligence directly caused your injury.
- The workers’ compensation system, on the other hand, does not require injured workers to prove negligence. Restitution under the FELA process tends to be higher than benefits collected through workers’ comp.
- Compensation under the FELA often provides sustainable living funds, whereas many disabled workers who collect workers’ comp benefits wind up poverty-stricken when the benefits they receive are not sufficient to make ends meet.
- The FELA guarantees your right to sue your employer at the state or federal level, depending on your circumstances. However, every claim does not necessarily lead to trial.
- In the past, railroad officials have unsuccessfully tried to lobby Congress to do away with the FELA.
- As soon as possible after suffering injury on the job, you will want to make sure you document the incident and report it to your employer. If your injury is severe, you may endure a long, arduous recovery, and may even face the possibility of being unable to return to work. The emotional, physical and practical implications of such situations can be quite devastating.
Tap into support
Many Louisiana railroad workers have been able to avoid financial disaster by relying on experienced legal representation to pursue justice against negligent employers in the aftermath of their workplace injuries.