The Federal Employers Liability Act protects railroad workers who are injured while on-duty or develop a disease due to their working conditions. The time limit to bring a claim is related to when an injury happens, not when the person last worked for the railroad.
How FELA Claims Work
FELA covers traumatic injuries, as well as diseases the job caused, and aggravations of pre-existing conditions. To file a FELA claim the railroad worker will have to prove their employer was negligent, and this negligence caused the injuries or illness. FELA claims are also unique, because the worker only needs to prove the negligence caused some role in the injury or illness. This means that the railroad company could only be partly responsible for the injury, the company does not need to be the only cause of the railroad workers injuries.
Deadline to File a Claim
There is a statute of limitations for filing a FELA claim. An injured railroad worker has to start their claim or lawsuit within three years. If a worker does not file within three years this could lead to case dismissals, even if the claim is substantiated with evidence. Determining when the clock starts can be very complicated. For a specific event that causes an injury – for example an accident or derailment – the clock starts right away. When someone develops a disease over time, when the time period starts is more complicated. The worker must bring a claim within three years of when they were injured and knew or should have known the injury to be work-related.
All railroad workers are protected under FELA, even those who have retired. There is no time restriction on filing a claim within a certain time period of leaving the railroad, as long as a claim is filed within the three year period relating to when the injury happened and when the worker knew or should have known it to be work-related..
How a Railroad Injury Attorney Could Help
An experienced railroad injury attorney could help explain your options, and go through the process with you. Our team at Doran & Murphy could help you through the stressful process of filing a FELA claim, and keep you updated on your case. Call today to see how a railroad injury attorney could help your case.