Many railroad companies invest in the labor of independent contractors to help them get the jobs done. Whether this is plowing snow or transporting workers to the job site, contractors play an essential role in railroad operations. However, they are often unfamiliar with the safety measures necessary to keep workers safe. If injured due to the negligence of a contractor hired by your employer, you’re likely eligible to file a FELA claim. However, this can be a tricky process to navigate on your own, so it’s essential to enlist the assistance of a FELA lawyer. Keep reading to discover how your employer can be held liable for injuries you sustained due to a third party.
Can a Railroad Be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused By a Contractor?
If injured because of a contractor hired by the railroad company, your employer will likely try to claim they are not responsible since the other party is to blame. However, the courts have determined that contractors hired by the railroads become part of the railroad for the duration of their time working together.
For example, if a tree trimming company doesn’t take the necessary precautions to clear the area before beginning their work, you may be struck by a falling piece of tree. As such, you can suffer severe and often life-long injuries.
While the railroad may try to pass the blame on to the tree trimming company, your employer is ultimately responsible as the contractor is part of the railroad by completing work for them. Because your employer is ultimately responsible, you can proceed with filing a FELA claim.
What Should I Do Following a Railroad Injury?
Following an injury caused by a contractor, you should immediately report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. They will have you complete an accident report. Do not let anyone else write anything on your statement, and get a copy of the completed document.
You’ll also need to seek medical attention for the injuries sustained as soon as possible. It’s important to understand that the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) allows you to see a doctor of your choice. This differs from workers’ compensation, where you must see a physician approved by your employer.
Be sure to keep all documentation regarding your injury, such as the accident report, a list of witnesses to the incident, medical records, and anything else pertinent to your case. This is essential when filing a FELA claim.
Finally, you’ll want to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. However, you should not simply choose the first personal injury lawyer near you. You’ll want to ensure you have a FELA attorney that’s on your side, as this is an involved process. At Doran & Murphy, our dedicated legal team has the knowledge to help you receive the justice you’re entitled to.