man with arm in a sling talking to a doctor

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was specifically enacted to compensate railroad workers who suffer injuries on the job, much like Workers’ Compensation. However, there are big differences. First, unlike workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault system, the FELA requires an injured worker to prove that his or her railroad employer was negligent, at least in part, and that the negligence caused or contributed to the injury. Second, Workers’ Compensation claims are processed by a Workers’ Compensation Board, not the employer. FELA claims, on the other hand, are brought directly against railroad employers in the form of a lawsuit, making the process much more adversarial. Many workers may not realize that their employer is actively working against them after a workplace injury. Railroad companies have entire claims departments devoted to minimizing their liability after a workplace injury and the claims process involves many pitfalls that can hurt your case. This is why it is imperative to consult with an experienced FELA attorney as soon as possible.

A FELA attorney can advise you early on after an injury to help preserve the value of your railroad injury claim. The process begins by ensuring you receive the right medical attention for your injuries and exploring your benefit options with the Railroad Retirement Board as well as any supplemental benefits you may be entitled to if you cannot immediately return to work. Next, a FELA lawyer will gather and preserve all available evidence relevant to your FELA claim and communicate with your doctors to gain a full understanding of the extent of your injuries and how they might affect you in the future. Once a railroad injury claim is fully investigated, your case will be filed in the appropriate court and settlement negotiations will likely follow. Although the FELA claims process typically requires some litigation, most cases are settled before trial in the form of a lump sum check proportional to your financial losses and the pain & suffering you have and will endure. As the injured worker, you are in control of your FELA claim and only you can decide whether or not to accept a railroad injury settlement.

If you would like to learn more about the FELA claims process and what your options are following a railroad workplace injury, call us today for a free consultation.