Railroad Disability and Injury In Florida

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Do You Need a Railroad Disability and Injury Attorney?

Due to the unique nature of their trade and historical developments, the men and women who work on America’s railroads are entitled to disability and injury benefits that are different from what is available to most other workers. Laws passed during the railroads’ peak in the early 1900s set up special systems to compensate injured and disabled railroad workers. These railroad benefit systems are unique and have rules that are sometimes much different from the workers’ compensation that other injured employees can claim or the Social Security Disability benefits that most workers are entitled to.

The Tampa railroad disability and injury attorneys at Disparti Law Group, P.A., know the intricacies of claims involving the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and the Railroad Retirement Board’s disability system. If you were injured while working in a railroad job, our skilled railroad accident attorneys are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation at 888-861-7757 or fill out our online contact form.

“With more than 30 years of experience handling FELA and railroad disability claims, our railroad injury and disability attorneys serve clients in Tampa, Holiday, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, and all across Florida and the United States.”

Florida FELA Claims For Railroad Injuries

Due to the inherent dangers of railroad occupations, a specific law – distinct from traditional state workers’ compensation laws – protects railroaders in the event they are injured while working. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) entitles railroad employees to compensation if:

  • They are injured on the job;
  • Their employer railroad is engaged in interstate commerce (and virtually all are); and
  • They can prove their injuries resulted from the negligence or recklessness of an employer, co-worker or equipment manufacturer.

In order for an injury to be considered “on the job,” it is not necessary that the accident happened on or around trains, or even on railroad property. The key is that the injury must have occurred in the course and scope of the claimant’s railroad employment. There are some exceptions, such as for fights or horseplay, where a FELA recovery is barred.

The third element — negligence — is what makes FELA claims the most different from workers’ compensation benefits. State workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault systems, whereas a successful FELA action requires the claimant to show that the railroad was in some way negligent. Typically this is accomplished by establishing that the railroad breached its duty to provide employees with a reasonably safe place to work.

FELA uses a comparative negligence analysis, meaning that your claim won’t be barred even if you were somewhat to blame for the accident. In fact, unlike comparative negligence in most state personal injury actions, you can be 99 percent at fault and still recover under a FELA action.

Another major difference between FELA and workers’ comp cases is that the railroad is under no obligation to pay you compensation until it is ordered to do so by a court. That means you have to file a lawsuit instead of a workers’ comp claim. Also unlike workers’ comp, FELA allows your case to be determined by a jury instead of a bureaucrat.

In most cases, railroad injury settlements awarded via FELA are greater than compensation provided by workers’ compensation laws. That’s because FELA allows many more types of damages to be considered, including:

  • Loss of past and future wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Physical disfigurement; and
  • Rehabilitation.

Some of the types of injuries that railroad employees are likely to experience include:

  • Back and neck injuries;
  • Burns injuries;
  • Crushing injuries;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Electrocutions;
  • Fractures;
  • Loss of limbs;
  • Permanent disabilities; and
  • Shoulder Injuries.
Injured Railroad Workers | Disparti Law Group

If you have been injured while performing railroad work, you can turn to our Florida railroad accident lawyers to ensure that you recover all of the compensation you are entitled to.

Railroad Disability

Railroad workers are not covered by Social Security for the work that they do for the railroad. Instead, they are entitled to benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, which is a separate federal agency. Although the two systems are distinct, they function in the same way in most instances, with a few notable exceptions. The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) provides retirement benefits to railroad employees that are similar to Social Security retirement benefits. The RRB also provides disability benefits if a railroad worker becomes disabled before he or she reaches regular retirement age. Unlike Social Security, which offers only one disability program, the RRB has two types of disability benefits. A railroad worker is able to receive total disability (also known as “disability freeze”) from the Railroad Retirement Board if that employee is permanently disabled from all work and has at least 10 years (120 months) of creditable railroad service. The medical requirements for RRB total disability are similar to those for SSD.

Additionally, a railroad worker can receive an occupational disability from the Railroad Retirement Board if that employee has at least 20 years (240 months) of railroad service and that employee is permanently disabled from his “regular railroad occupation.” Unlike with SSD or RRB total disability, there is no requirement that the claimant be unable to perform any substantial gainful employment. The worker simply must be unable to perform his or her job. The RRB also provides sickness benefits if a railroad worker is temporarily out of work for an injury or illness. The attorneys at Disparti Law Group, P.A., have extensive experience in representing railroad workers in the application process of filing for Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits. If a railroad worker is denied Railroad Retirement disability benefits, he or she has the right to appeal this denial. The attorneys at Disparti Law Group are also experienced in handling the Railroad Retirement Board appeals.

If you have questions concerning Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits, e-mail us or call toll free at 888-861-7757. Don’t fight the government alone. Let us put our decades of experience and knowledge to work for you. The initial consultation is free of charge. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.

How Can I Afford to Hire a Railroad Disability Lawyer?

During an initial consultation, which is free, we will review the specifics of your accident and discuss your legal options. If we determine that we can handle your case, we will represent you on a contingent fee basis. You will not be charged for legal fees or costs unless we obtain compensation for you through a settlement or court award. At that time, the fee for our legal representation will come from a percentage of the final award.

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