The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is the U.S. law that protects railroad workers’ rights in the case of injuries.
It operates on a fault-based system, which means railroad workers must prove their employers’ fault in their injuries. In some cases, injured railroad workers may still be found partially at fault for their own injuries.
However, railroad workers found partially at fault for their injuries still receive FELA protections and compensation. Read on as we at Roven Camp, a railroad injury firm based in Houston, outline workers’ rights when they are found partially at fault for their injuries.
FELA as a fault-based system
As mentioned before, FELA is a fault-based system. Unlike typical workers’ compensation, railroad workers under FELA must prove that employer negligence led to their harm or injury.
Employer negligence takes many forms.
Some examples of railroad employer negligence include, but are not limited to:
- Faulty equipment
- Equipment with insufficient safety inspections
- Mismanaged work environments with exposure to toxic substances
- Insufficiently maintained railroad tracks
- Lack of training or supervision
- Unsafe work policies or procedures
How do I prove employer negligence in FELA cases?
In order to receive compensation for your injury, you must prove your employer’s negligence. Only then can you receive monetary damages for your injury.
To receive injury-related compensation 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.
- There was harm sustained while you were employed by the railroad.
- The harm resulted, in whole or in part, from the railroad’s negligence.
What if I am found partially at fault for my injury?
In a fault-based system, it may be proven that different parties were at fault.
Agents, contractors, and even the injured employees themselves can be found at partial fault for injuries sustained on the job.
However, workers found partially at fault for their injuries are still entitled to compensation.
For example, if your case goes to trial, the jury may award a certain amount while still finding you partially at fault for your injuries. If you are found 30% at fault, and the railroad is found to be 70% at fault, but the verdict is $1,000,000, then you will receive $700,000, or 70% of the damages (the portion of fault by the railroad company).
In cases where other third parties are involved, like contractors or customers, if the combined percentage of fault on all defendants is 70% (including at least 1% on the railroad), you can still collect $700,000 from the railroad and it becomes the railroad’s responsibility to seek indemnity or reimbursement from the other defendants.
This is why a railroad defendant will always try to shift blame to the employee. The railroad will allege that the employee “overexerted” themselves or “failed to take the safe course. It is also why an injured employee should not wait to contact an experienced FELA and railroad injury attorney like Roven Camp who can help the injured worker prepare the best case possible against the railroad defendant.
Contact Houston railroad injury attorneys Roven Camp today
When tragedy strikes you and your family in the form of a railroad injury, the last thing you need to do is face the railroad and its claims agents alone. You need an experienced and respected railroad injury attorney like Roven Camp on your side.
Our firm, based in Houston, Texas has years of experience working on behalf of injured railroad workers and their families in FELA cases in Texas and throughout the U.S.
We know the law and are prepared to fight for your dignity when railroad companies try to minimize their responsibility for an accident that changed the trajectory of your life. Contact Roven Camp today to start your road to justice.