The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) was enacted to protect
injured railway workers and ensure that they can seek compensation for
injuries sustained on the job. FELA claims are similar to workers’
compensation claims, but they are not the same thing. Learn what you need
to know about FELA claims.
What is a FELA Claim?
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, workers who make a FELA claim
must prove that their employer was negligent, and their injury was caused
by this negligent. The burden of proof is on the worker, and it can be
a challenge to demonstrate negligence on the part of their employer. Many
injured workers seek the help of a personal injury attorney who is experienced
in FELA claims. They can help to gather the necessary evidence to prove
that your employer was negligent in preventing your accident.
There are more damages that can be recovered in a FELA claim than can be
recovered by a workers’ compensation claim. These damages include:
- Medical expenses, including future expenses
- Lost wages, including future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional trauma or suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disability, including partial or full disability
Injuries Covered by FELA
There are many injuries that can occur on the job. Some can be more immediate,
but others may not display symptoms for many years. Some injuries can
heal over time but others may be permanently disabling.
FELA generally covers four types of injuries:
Traumatic injuries, such as fractures, joint sprains, and pulled muscles.
Repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis
Occupational diseases, such as hearing loss, lung cancer, and asbestos exposure.
Aggravation of pre-existing conditions, such as injuries that exacerbate existing health conditions.
Liability in FELA Claims
When making a claim under FELA, injured workers will need to prove their
employer was negligent and this negligence directly contributed to the
accident that caused their injury. Many railroad companies are large,
complex organizations, and there can be many ways these companies can
be negligent and cause employees harm. There are several categories that
negligent actions usually fall into.
Negligent actions often include:
- Failure to create and maintain appropriate workplace safety rules.
- Failure to completely and correctly train employees.
- Failure to provide necessary tools, equipment, and protective wear.
- Failure to provide adequate manpower for a task.
Your attorney will look for evidence of your employer’s negligence
when they build your case, and will help you to develop a strategy to
prove that your injuries could have been prevented, if your employer had
taken appropriate action.
In cases where the injured party was partially at fault for their injuries,
the injured person can still file a claim under FELA. The amount of liability
they are responsible for will be deducted from the total amount of damages
they are owed. Workers still are protected, even if they hold some liability
for their own injuries.
If you wish to file a claim under FELA, you should be aware of the statute
of limitations for these claims. Your lawsuit must be filled within 3
years of the date you were injured, or the date you discovered your injury.
For injuries that take longer to appear, it can be difficult to judge
when the injury first happened. For these types of injuries, you will
have 3 years from the date you were first diagnosed, knew, or should have
known that you had a work related injury.
Springfield Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Filing a FELA claim can allow injured rail workers to receive the compensation
they need, but these claims can be complex. Your claim is important to
you, which is why our Springfield personal injury attorneys are committed
to representing injured clients with personalized, knowledgeable legal
services. Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. is backed by over 40 years of collective
experience and we can help you handle your FELA claim.
Contact our offices today by calling (417) 855-2022 for a free case evaluation.