Certain lines of work present substantially more risk than others. Workers typically have a deep understanding about this reality, along with a great deal of pride in their ability to successfully perform jobs of this nature. While it may be impossible to eliminate every type of danger from inherently hazardous vocations, those who undertake such positions should be able to expect their employers to do everything they can to protect the safety of those they hire.
Individuals employed in the railroad industry are afforded a series of extra protections beyond traditional workers’ compensation benefits, namely those provided by the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Passed in the first part of the 1900’s to address an alarming rise in injuries and wrongful deaths suffered by railroad workers, this legislation is meant to offer protections and compensation to workers harmed during the course of their employment by a railroad-related enterprise.
At the heart of FELA is the requirement that all railroad employers ensure their employees have a safe environment in which to perform their assigned tasks. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury while working a railroad job, the attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye can outline your legal options under FELA and fight for just compensation.
Facts about FELA
Pursuant to FELA, a railroad worker who is not sufficiently covered by conventional workers’ compensation schemes has the ability to sue his or her employer following an injury event. Successful plaintiffs in FELA cases can receive compensation for physical pain and suffering, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical bills and more. Monetary awards are determined based on a system of comparative negligence, unlike in the workers’ compensation context, where benefits payouts are largely predetermined without regard to fault.
In a FELA case, the injured employee will need to establish that the railroad-related employer was at least partially negligent with regard to the circumstances causing the harm. Once that standard has been met, he or she will be entitled to compensation in an amount determined in part by his or her degree of assessed fault in the events at issue. Because proving negligence on the part of a large, powerful railroad employer can be a real challenge, it is important for injured workers to enlist the aid of experienced FELA attorneys. At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, we understand the complexity of railroad injury matters and pledge to leave no stone unturned in the collection of evidence and the crafting of effective legal arguments on behalf of our clients.
Key safeguards included in FELA
In addition to providing and maintaining a workplace that is reasonably safe for all employees, FELA also imposes other specific duties on railroad employers, including:
- Establishment of appropriate training and full supervision of employees
- Avoidance of unreasonable work-related production or performance quotas
- Ensuring that all tools and equipment provided are safe and in proper working condition
- Conducting regular inspections to verify that no hazards exist
Seeking compensation pursuant to FELA
It should be noted that FELA applies to a broad spectrum of railroad-related harm, not just the obvious types of single-event bodily injuries many would envision. FELA benefits can also be awarded as a result of potentially deadly exposure to asbestos as well as of cumulative trauma and repetitive stress and strain injuries. The financial compensation afforded to injured railroad workers can often far exceed what would have been available to them via traditional workers’ compensation systems.
Attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye thoroughly investigate all claims involving FELA railroad injury to determine eligibility for the following types of monetary damages:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Lost benefits
- Medical expenses, past, present and future
- Loss of enjoyment
- Funeral costs
- Payment to survivors for loss of financial support and familial relationships
Help from skilled railroad injury lawyers
The aftermath of a serious railroad-related injury can be a confusing, frightening and aggravating time. If you or a family member has suffered real harm in the course of your employment within the rail industry, please be aware that time really is of the essence when it comes to pursuing the compensation you deserve. FELA imposes a three-year statute of limitations on all employee claims. This means that the process of seeking a financial award under the statute must begin within three years of the injury or death or within three years of the date upon which the harmed employee should have reasonably become aware of the injury or exposure.
Each and every day, railroad employees step into the fray and perform the necessary but dangerous tasks that keep our transportation system humming. For that, they are entitled to a series of heightened protections and the ability to secure full and fair compensation should they suffer serious harm while on the job.
The FELA lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye possess the personal injury litigation experience required to build the most effective cases on behalf of clients throughout New York and on Long Island. We invite you to contact us at 1-800-469-7429 to discuss the specifics of your case and to learn more about your options for legal recourse.
- Legal Information Institute, 45 U.S. Code § 51 – Liability of common carriers by railroad, in interstate or foreign commerce, for injuries to employees from negligence; employee defined, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/45/51
- University of St. Thomas Law Journal – Volume 8, Issue 3, Personal Liability Tort Litigation Against Federal Employees: A Primer, http://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1255&context=ustlj