Often, actions that take a few seconds to transpire can impact a worker’s career, family and way of life forever. Like highways with auto accidents, the railroad system can be a dangerous place for passengers, but more so for workers. According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis there has been a 2.3% increase in train accidents from 2013 to 2014, despite the improvement of safeguards and inspection requirements.
Railroad workers need to understand their FELA basic rights so in the case of a railroad accident or work related injury, they can be better prepared. To better understand the difference between FELA and state workers compensation cases, watch our video:
The Federal Employers Liability Act, commonly known as FELA, recognizes the dangers of working in the railroad industry. This act provides a legal basis which protects and compensates railroad employees injured on the job. Under FELA, railroad workers are entitled to a safe workplace. Railroad workers and families have the right to sue in the event that employee negligence caused the railroad injury or the death, on the job. FELA is not the same as workers compensation. FELA requires injured railroad workers to prove that the railroad was “legally negligent” in causing the injury; while employees under workers’ compensation receive compensation immediately with a fixed monetary allowance. Because FELA has a three-year statute of limitations, it is vital to seek help from an attorney immediately following a railroad accident in order to receive the compensation you deserve.
If a railroad worker sustains a work related injury, they should take the following steps to exercise their FELA rights:
- Immediately after the incident, report to the employment supervisor and file an Employer’s Injury Report. Be as accurate and thorough providing details of the railroad accident and injuries obtained.
- Seek necessary medical attention and treatment. Try to keep copies of your medical records and bills.
- Create your own personal injury report. Having a personal, in-depth report could help your FELA injury claim lawyer understand the incident more clearly.
- When necessary, get in contact with your union representative and inform them of the incident.
- Keep track of any lost time at work as a result of your injuries.
- Talk with an experienced FELA attorney as soon as possible after your railroad accident. Attorneys at Peter Higgins Law may be able to help you, and ensure that your rights are protected at all stages of your FELA claim.
Trains and railways have served as a primary form of transportation for the last hundred years. With the extent of rail service accidents are bound to happen. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a railroad injury please take note of your FELA and employee rights. The professional attorneys at Peter Higgins Law may be able to help you with your claim.