Railroad Worker Injuries and FELA: What You Should Know
The work of a railroad worker can be extremely dangerous. You not only have to worry about the giant machinery you have to work with day in and day out but you also have to worry about the dangers of derailments. So what happens if you are injured while on the job as a railroad worker? Fortunately, there is help through the government.
What is FELA?
In 1908, Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to protect railroad workers across the nation who had trouble bringing a claim against their employers. Before the act was established, railroad workers were getting injured at a worrisome rate and were denied workers’ compensation benefits from their employers.
Today, the act protects all railroad workers from injuries sustained on the job. However, there is a catch. In order to qualify for FELA benefits, you must prove that your employer is at least partly responsible for your accident. According to the law, railroad workers need to prove the railroad failed in its duty to:
- Provide a safe work environment, which includes the proper equipment, tools, and safety devices
- Inspect the environment regularly to make sure there are no hazards
- Provide training, supervision, assistance, and any type of help to employees
- Ensure the workers are safe from harmful intentions by other workers
- Enforce federal safety regulations
- Prevent use of unreasonable work quotas
So how can you prove your employer was negligent?
For example, let’s say you work for Railroad X. Your employer cuts corners in order to save money. So some required OSHA rules have been tossed out the window, which means some safety gear has not been provided to you. So it’s no wonder that you are injured while working on the train wheels. The injury has caused permanent damage. What can you do?
In this scenario, it’s obvious that Railroad X had failed in its duty to protect its employees from harm. Therefore you will be able to receive FELA benefits, which includes medical benefits, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
But what if it was you who failed to wear the safety gear provided to you? In a FELA case, the amount of the worker liability does not come into question. As long as the railroad worker can show his/her employer is somehow negligent for the accident and because of this negligence, the worker was injured.
Get Help With Your FELA Case
Dealing with a FELA case requires a skilled attorney who knows the workers’ compensation laws. For more than 28 years, personal injury attorney Anthony Carbone has been helping injured workers across New Jersey. Contact him today for a free consultation.