rail worker

Despite the risks and dangers of working on the railroad, your employer must provide a reasonably safe work environment and adequate employee training. Failure to do so can lead to injuries. If this happens to you, you may not know whether you need to file for workers’ compensation or a FELA claim as a railroad worker. The following blog explores the fundamental differences between workers’ compensation and FELA to ensure you understand what to expect if you sustain injuries while working on the nation’s railroads. Additionally, you’ll learn why you must contact a FELA lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining an injury.

What Is the Difference Between State Workers’ Compensation Laws and FELA?

It’s critical to understand the most significant difference between a workers’ compensation and Federal Employers’ Liability Act claim. Only those who work on railroads are eligible to file a FELA claim. Railroad employees cannot file for workers’ compensation and must pursue FELA claims when they sustain work-related injuries.
With few exceptions, workers’ compensation automatically awards compensation to the injured party. Even if you cause your injuries, your employer must provide compensation. However, with FELA, you must prove that your employer was at least partially negligent for the injuries you’ve endured.

Finally, FELA can provide more significant compensation for damages. These claims not only cover economic damage like medical bills, but also provide funds for non-economic damages, such as emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, only provides compensation for physical injuries.

If Injured on the Railroad, What Must I Do?

In the event you sustain an injury while on the job due to our employer’s negligence, understanding how to proceed is critical to recovering the compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve endured.

The most crucial thing you must do is report the accident to a supervisor. Once you have done so, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Unlike workers’ compensation, you do not have to see a provider chosen by your employer. Instead, you can see any healthcare professional of your choice. However, establishing medical care is vital.

The railroad will likely ask you to speak to a claim agent. You do not have to do so until you have consulted an attorney. It may be in your best interest to seek the representation of an experienced FELA lawyer. Unfortunately, the claim agent’s job is to save the railroad company money at your expense. Ensuring you have an attorney to guide you through this process gives you the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve.

At Doran & Murphy, we understand how devastating it can be to sustain an injury due to no fault of your own. Not only can this cause immense pain, but medical bills may quickly pile up. That’s why our dedicated team of experienced FELA attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you.