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As a railroad worker, you may perform your duties thousands of miles from where your company is headquartered. When you sustain an injury, this can raise several questions if you wish to file a FELA lawsuit against your employer. It’s in your best interest to consult with a FELA lawyer before making any decisions about your case, as they can help you through this process. Keep reading to learn more about the questions you’ll likely have regarding these circumstances.

What Is FELA?

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a set of laws that helps mitigate the dangers associated with dangerous railroad work by allowing workers to pursue compensation for the negligence of their employer. This is because the law recognizes that railroad work is inherently hazardous, and by allowing workers a more straightforward avenue to seek compensation, employers are pressured into providing safer working conditions to avoid costly lawsuits.

Generally, an injured employee must prove their injury was partially the fault of their employer. So long as they can do this, they may be entitled to compensation. Additionally, if the worker can show the railroad company violated a safety regulation, they will be held liable without requiring the employee to prove negligence, because the violation is considered inherently negligent.

If I Sue the Railroad, Where Does the Lawsuit Happen?

If hurt in a car accident, you’d file a lawsuit in the state where the injury occurred. However, filing a FELA lawsuit may not be as simple. This is because where your injury occurred, where the company is incorporated, and where the headquarters is located can all vary. For example, if you work for Union Pacific, you may sustain an injury in Utah while the company’s headquarters is in Nebraska, despite being incorporated in Delaware.

It’s important to understand that FELA cases are federal, meaning they do not follow state laws. For example, you may find that the statute of limitations in Utah for a personal injury is four years, while FELA cases require you to act within three years. As such, you have the right to decide where your case occurs. However, you’ll want to work with your attorney to determine the best location to file your suit.

Why Do I Need an Attorney for This Matter?

Though it may seem unnecessary to hire an attorney, they have the resources necessary to determine the best location for you to file your suit. This can give you the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome. They will examine your options, the state’s venue and civil procedure rules, and any additional factors to determine the best location.

Additionally, you may find that the railroad will do everything possible to prevent you from recovering the compensation you are entitled to. It’s imperative to fight for the funds you deserve when a negligent employer is responsible for your injuries. As such, you’ll want to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you recover the funds you deserve. At Doran & Murphy, our team has the knowledge and experience to fight for you. We aren’t afraid to stand up to the railroads to fight for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.