FELA (Railroad Employee Injuries)

In the early 20th Century, the United States railroad industry was growing exponentially, leading to increased dangers for railroad workers. The average life expectancy for a switchman was just seven years, and the odds of a railroad brakeman dying on the job were nearly four to one. When injuries and deaths occurred on the job, railroad workers and their families were not entitled to any form of compensation.

In 1908, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was passed by Congress, granting injured railroad workers the right to sue their employers for compensation in the event of a work-related injury. In addition, surviving family members were given the right to bring suit on behalf of railroad workers who were killed on the job. The railroads were finally held accountable for the dangerous conditions in which they placed their employees.

FELA requires railroad companies to meet certain standards of duty, including:

  • Providing a reasonably safe workplace
  • Exercising a reasonable level of care for employee safety
  • Providing employees with safe equipment, tools, and safety devices
  • Choosing appropriately safe methods to carry out work
  • Providing the proper level of help to ensure that work is carried out safely
  • Inspecting the workplace for hazards that would inhibit safety
  • Creating and enforcing rules and best practices for safety
  • Providing the necessary training for equipment, tools, and work techniques

FELA differs from workers compensation in that compensation is not awarded automatically. The employee must prove that the railroad acted negligently, resulting in injury or death. The employee or surviving family members may be entitled to:

  • Lost Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Funeral Costs
  • Lost Benefits
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Emotional Damages
  • Disability Pay

Because FELA has a three-year statute of limitations, it is imperative to seek legal help immediately to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. We have attorneys with a long history of successful FELA cases, including:

  • Largest FELA settlement in the Midwest (Confidential settlement)
  • $3.2 million jury verdict for a Union Pacific Railroad employee who fell from a crane ladder
  • $3.5 million jury verdict for a railroad conductor who developed kidney failure after a rigorous shift in near-zero weather conditions
  • $4.3 million jury verdict for a railroad employee injured while operating a rail heater
  • Many dozens of other settlements and verdicts regarding railroad workers

Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

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