If you sustain an injury while working on the railroad due to the negligence of your employer, you may want to file a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claim to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to. However, after your injury, you may be more focused on healing. Unfortunately, if you do not file before the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to pursue justice. Keep reading to learn how much time you have to file and discover how a FELA lawyer can assist you through the claims process.
Do FELA Claims Have a Statute of Limitations?
It’s important to understand that FELA claims have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time someone can wait to file a civil lawsuit against another person. The most common suits to file are personal injury claims, and each state has its own time frame. For example, most states have a two-year statute of limitations, but Tennessee is limited to one year, while Maine provides a six-year timeframe.
FELA claims are not subject to the statute of limitations of the state where the negligence occurred. Instead, you will have three years from the date of the injury to file a FELA claim, regardless of where the injury or occupational illness occurred.
If you do not file a claim within the statute of limitations period, you relinquish your right to pursue compensation against the negligent party.
What if I Am Diagnosed After the Statute Expires?
In some instances, you may be diagnosed with an illness years after your exposure while working on the railroad. As such, you may believe you are ineligible to file a FELA claim. However, this is not true. You have three years from the date the disease was linked to your occupation to file a lawsuit against your employer.
This is also true for those who endured repetitive stress injuries. It can be easy to remember the date of one traumatic injury, but when an injury develops over the course of months or years, you may not know when the statute of limitations started. For these kinds of injuries, it’s necessary to keep all medical records, as these can be used to determine when the injury was linked to the job.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Filing a FELA claim can be a confusing process, especially if you don’t know the date when your injury or illness occurred because it took months or years to develop. An experienced attorney can help examine your medical records to determine when the statute of limitations for your case would have started.
Not only can an attorney help you navigate the complex process of determining the statute of limitations, but they will also fight on your behalf to give you the best possible chance of receiving the maximum compensation you deserve for the injury or illness. =
At Doran & Murphy, we understand that this process can be stressful. However, it’s imperative to contact our office as soon as possible so we can help you receive justice. Reach out today to learn how we can assist you.