workers on railroad

As an employee, injuries can happen. However, when you work on the nation’s railroads, the likelihood that you will suffer an injury increases. Though you may be entitled to compensation, your employer may try to claim the injury happened outside of the scope of your employment, leaving you unsure how to recover the funds you deserve. As such, you should familiarize yourself with when your FELA coverage begins. The following blog explores what you should know about these circumstances and why connecting with a FELA lawyer from Doran & Murphy is critical to fighting for your rights as a railroad employee.

What Is FELA Coverage?

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a set of laws that help protect those who work on the nation’s railroads. This is similar to the function of worker’s compensation. When a railroad employee is injured, they can apply for compensation under FELA. It’s important to understand that there are considerable differences between workers’ compensation and FELA, such as that under FELA, your employer must be somewhat negligent in the accident that caused your injury. Additionally, because FELA is a federal act, there is a three-year statute of limitations regardless of the state where the accident occurred.

When Does My Coverage Start?

It’s essential to understand when you are covered under FELA. Like worker’s compensation, FELA only applies when you sustain injuries when engaged in job-related duties. Many employers will try to claim that you were not on the job or performing job duties at the time of your injury to avoid liability. For example, they may claim you were outside your shift hours when the injury occurred. However, if you were still performing job duties, which often take place right before and after your contract hours, you’ll likely qualify to file a FELA claim. This is because this is still under the scope of your employment, and it benefits your employer.

It’s important to understand that as long as you are doing something related to your job, such as traveling for work purposes, walking in the parking lot to get to your car, or going to training sessions, it falls under your scope of employment. As such, you can recover compensation for the injuries you’ve endured because of your employer’s negligence.

As you can see, many factors will influence whether or not you are covered under FELA. That’s why it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced FELA attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your case. You should not speak with the railroad claims department until you have consulted a lawyer for further guidance. If your supervisor orders you to provide a statement, only give them basic information about the accident, and be careful of any question that asks if the railroad did anything wrong.

At Doran & Murphy, our team is dedicated to protecting those who work on our nation’s railroads. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you when you’ve sustained injuries because of your employer’s negligence.