Railroad Worker Files Suit Against Union Pacific for Alleged FELA Violations

A resident of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana has recently filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co., alleging that he incurred serious injuries in a workplace incident he claims was the result of his employer’s failure to provide necessary protective equipment and a safe working environment in which to perform his assigned tasks. Terrell Johnson’s complaint was lodged on August 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and cites violations of the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) as the basis of his claim for damages.

FELA lawsuit

In his complaint, Mr. Johnson states that his employer, Union Pacific Railroad Co., directed him to perform maintenance tasks on a section of track in the vicinity of Chickasha, Oklahoma in April of this year. He alleges that he was assigned to manually install wood crossties, rather than do so with the aid of typically available mechanical tools and equipment, including a “speed swing,” jackhammer and a backhoe.

Johnson asserts that attempting to perform these tasks as assigned caused him to sustain serious injuries to his elbow, neck, shoulder and spine, and that his employer was committed actionable violations of FELA by requiring him to work with extremely heavy equipment with the aid of little more than a spike hammer and a lining bar.

This railroad employee injury lawsuit contends that Union Pacific did not fulfill its statutory duty to provide necessary tools, support, equipment and safeguards for the job assigned to Mr. Johnson, resulting in his disc herniation, physical pain, mental anguish, lost wages and accumulated medical bills.

FELA protections for railroad workers

Enacted in the early 1900s out of a recognition that railroad workers are employed in an inherently dangerous industry and ought to be entitled to additional protections beyond conventional workers’ compensation plans, FELA requires railroad employers to ensure the safety of the environment in which their employees function. Pursuant to the statute, railroad workers injured on the job who are insufficiently covered for their losses by traditional compensation schemes are afforded the opportunity to file suit directly against his or her employer to recover payments for a wide range of damages.

Thanks to FELA, it is possible for injured railroad employees to pursue compensation for harm resulting from a railroad employer’s failure to provide a reasonably safe workplace, to establish comprehensive training and supervision plans for all employees, to prevent the establishment of unreasonable production or work quotas, to provide safe equipment in good working order or to conduct timely inspections of work sites.

FELA lawyers railroad employees can trust

A serious injury sustained at work can cause dramatic upheaval in the lives of families. Medical bills, lost wages and diminished future earning capacity can all place an injured party’s financial and emotional stability in peril. If you or someone you love has suffered this type of harm while working in the rail industry, prompt action to protect your rights is critical.

FELA is characterized by a three-year statute of limitations within which all claims must be filed. Pursuit of financial compensation must therefore be initiated no more than three years after the injury event or the date at which the employee should reasonably have become aware of the harm.

If you are contemplating filing a railroad employee accident lawsuit, the FELA lawyers of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are here to help. Our vast experience representing personal injury victims across New York, including Long Island, allows us to provide unrivaled advocacy on behalf of railroad workers harmed due to the employer negligence and to help secure the resources so vital to their families’ futures.

To schedule a no-cost initial consultation to learn more about your legal options, contact us at 1-800-469-7429.

  1. Louisiana Record, Worker sues Union Pacific alleging that task created physical trauma, http://louisianarecord.com/stories/510634803-worker-sues-union-pacific-alleging-that-task-created-physical-trauma
  2. 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
  3. 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