man and woman

Having decades of experience representing railroad workers under the Federal Employers Liability Act, we recognize that an on-duty injury impacts the railroader’s entire family. Railroad workers typically do not receive ongoing wage continuation benefits after they suffer an injury, unlike many fields covered by workers’ compensation.

The stress of an on-duty injury can be compounded by financial stress from not having the reliable paycheck a worker uses to support his or her family. These damages are recoverable in a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which is the federal statute that allows railroad workers to recover when their injuries were caused by their employer’s negligence. At the time of a trial, or settlement with the railroad, an injured worker is able to recover economic losses, such as lost wages and fringe benefits, for the past as well as into the future. These damages are in addition to monetary compensation for the pain and suffering associated with the injury, damages not available under workers’ compensation.

However, many families need help right away. The potential to recover damages in the future is little consolation to a family who needs to pay their mortgage and buy groceries. There are options for workers in this situation:

  • RRB Sickness Benefits: The Railroad Retirement Board offers sickness benefits for eligible railroaders (having at least 5 months of service in the calendar year preceding the benefit year – this can be complicated because the benefit year begins on July 1st). Many workers also have supplemental sickness benefits that they can use during the immediate aftermath of an injury. These benefits are temporary, with normal benefits only lasting 26 weeks.
  • Returning to Work with Restrictions: Some workers may be able to return to the railroad in a limited capacity after an injury. Oftentimes, however, the railroad is unable to accommodate medical restrictions that a physician may impose based on the lasting impacts of the injury.
  • Non-Railroad Employment: A worker who is unable to return to the railroad, but is able to work in some capacity may seek employment outside the railroad industry. If the non-railroad job does not pay as well as the railroad, the worker can seek the difference in pay in his or her FELA claim.
  • RRB Disability: If an injured railroad worker is unable to work, he or she will likely need to file for Railroad Retirement Board disability, if eligible.

he financial stress of an on-duty injury is tremendous. If you would like to discuss your situation, please contact us today.