Nobody wants to have an accident while working on a railroad. Unfortunately, it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and there are times when tragedy strikes.
Luckily, there are protections in place for workers and their families in the case of workplace safety violations and employer negligence.
Roven Camp is a Houston-based railroad injury law firm. Our experienced, respected team is here to defend you and your family when the worst happens, and it all starts with knowing your rights in these situations.
What is FELA?
The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) was enacted in 1908 to protect railroad workers who are injured on the job. FELA outlines the path to compensation for workers who have been injured on the job, as well as some basic protections required of employers.
FELA violations may include:
- Negligence by the railroad company, officers, employees, or subcontractors
- Unsafe workplace conditions, tools, equipments, or appliances
- Violations of OSHA, Safety Appliance Act, Locomotive/Boiler Inspection Act, Power Brake Law, and other laws that protect railroad workers
FELA vs. workers’ compensation
There are some similarities between FELA and workers’ compensation. At their root, they both provide a path to compensation for injured workers’ medical care and wage loss.
However, unlike workers’ compensation, FELA is a fault-based system that also allows injured employees to recover for non-economic injuries like pain and suffering. In order to receive compensation, injured railroad workers must show the railroad’s negligence contributed to their harm or injury.
In order to receive compensation for an injury under FELA, you must prove the following:
- The railroad is a common carrier engaged in interstate commerce.
- You were employed by the railroad and assigned to perform duties that furthered the railroad’s interest.
- The harm was sustained while you were employed by the common carrier.
- The harm resulted, in whole or in part, from the railroad’s negligence.
At times, partial fault can be split among the parties involved. Injured employees can even be found partially at fault for their injuries, but they will still receive partial compensation for their expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How do I file for compensation benefits under FELA?
Railroads and claims agents will often try to reduce compensation and workers’ time off, as opposed to prioritizing workers’ health and recovery.
It helps to have the assistance of a skilled and experienced FELA law firm like Roven Camp on your side. After emergency medical needs are addressed, it is best to consult with a FELA attorney about your next steps.
With your attorney’s advice, you can fill out the required report of personal injury that is used by your railroad employer. It is generally advisable to refuse recorded statement requests from railroads and claims agents, as they may try to use them against you.
From there, you and your attorney need to gather your own evidence. This may include witness testimonies, photos, videos, medical statements, and more.
FELA statute of limitations
The typical statute of limitations under FELA is three years. Lawsuits for accident-related injuries must be filed within three years of the date of injury.
Lawsuits for occupational diseases, like asbestos-related diseases or other toxic exposures, must be filed within three years of the condition’s diagnosis and the discovery that the railroad occupation likely caused the disease.
Contact Roven Camp railroad injury attorneys today
Railroad injuries are serious, and it’s vital to have an experienced FELA attorney on your side fighting for your rights and compensation. Don’t let railroad companies and claims agents take advantage of you or prevent you from receiving the highest compensation possible.
Contact Roven Camp, our Houston-based railroad injury attorney, today. Our team is respected and experienced in FELA cases all over Texas and throughout the U.S., and we are prepared to fight for you and your family.