The idea of workers’ compensation in this country is a relatively recent concept. For the longest time, if you were injured on the job, you could hope for a little money from the company, but there was no guarantee—and more often than not you were left out in the cold.
Today our government’s approach to disability and injury benefits is exceedingly better than in the past thanks to the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, or FELA.
Initially created to help injured railroad workers, FELA is a critical piece of legislation for all workers in America, and it’s one that Attorney Larry Disparti and the skilled team of lawyers at Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers know very well. Here, we’ll discuss FELA protections for injured railroad workers as well as the first steps toward following a claim.
In This Article:
- What is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)?
- How Do FELA Differ From Workers’ Compensation?
- What Does FELA Cover?
- What About Additional Damages?
- How Can I File a FELA Claim?
What is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)?
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a significant piece of legislation enacted by Congress in response to the alarming rate of railroad-related deaths during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of its primary mandates is to ensure that railroads provide their employees with a safe working environment.
This means not only offering safe cars, engines, machinery, and tracks to work on but also ensuring that the tools and equipment used by railroad workers are safe and that the working conditions are ergonomically sound. FELA holds railroads accountable for the safety of their employees, making them responsible if they fail to implement these essential safety precautions or if a worker is injured or killed due to the carelessness of any officer, agent, or employee of the railroad. Importantly,
How Do FELA Protections Differ From Workers’ Compensation?
FELA and workers’ compensation claims are similar in that they were designed specifically to help workers injured on the job. On the other hand, anyone filing for workers’ compensation typically needs to prove only that their accident happened on the job. By comparison, a FELA claim must also show that the onsite injury was due to employer negligence.
FELA claims are usually a lot more difficult to prove, though as a result they tend to cover a lot more types of injuries and disabilities and can protect against more recoverable damages. In both cases, however, an injured railroad worker may still be eligible for compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident.
What Does FELA Cover?
FELA can cover a wide range of common workplace-related injuries. These include occupational diseases like lung cancer and hearing loss, or traumatic injuries such as a broken bone or muscle tear. Repetitive motion injuries like tendonitis are also typically covered by FELA.
If you have a preexisting condition that is made worse on the job, you could even claim that, too. As long as you can prove that your specific injury came about due to employer negligence, it is fair game in the eyes of the law.
What About Additional Damages?
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, submitting a FELA claim could entitle you to recoverable damages that can get quite extensive. The damages recoverable under FELA may include (but is not limited to):
- full disability benefits
- past and future medical expenses
- physical pain
- past and future wage and benefit losses
- emotional pain and suffering
How Can I File a FELA Claim?
Filing a FELA claim is not exactly easy. A lot of money can change hands depending on the claim, so you must approach your case with an ironclad defense and the best expertise available. The best place to start is by contacting a FELA claims attorney.
This is the best path towards a successful claim and receiving the compensation you deserve for your work accident or disability. At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers we want to maximize your compensation. Losing a job is often tough enough for most railroad workers, so why add the additional stress of filing a FELA claim on top of that anxiety?
If you have any questions at all about the FELA claims process or how to prove employer negligence, contact us today for a FREE consultation or call (312) 600-6000.