While injuries can occur in just about any occupation, railroad workers are often especially prone to suffering serious harm due to on-the-job accidents and work-related diseases. Unlike other types of workers, though, railroad laborers cannot fall back on workers’ compensation insurance after getting hurt or sick while working—instead, they have to pursue compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). If you were recently injured while working on a railroad, or if you have suffered from a work-related disease, like cancer, retaining a New York railroad laborer injury lawyer may be crucial to effectively pursue compensation for your damages. FELA claims work differently than other types of personal injury cases, and without guidance from a seasoned railroad injury attorney, you may have a lot of trouble getting all the compensation you may need and deserve.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Filing a FELA Claim Following a Railroad Injury?
Compared to traditional workers’ compensation, the Federal Employers Liability Act has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the most noticeable disadvantages to FELA claims is that railroad employers do not automatically assume liability for workplace accidents. Instead, injured laborers must establish that their accident stemmed, at least in part, from their employer’s negligence in order for their FELA claim to proceed.
Fortunately, proving liability for a railroad accident is not always a difficult process. Since FELA requires railroad employers to take a lot of unique safety measures and act decisively to protect their workers from harm, even a small slipup—from a broken safety device to an unnoticed hazardous condition—could confer liability under FELA. Importantly, the railroad employer need only be a part of the cause of the injury. However, it is still generally best to work with a New York railroad laborer injury attorney to make a FELA claim successful.
What Type of Damages Can a Railroad Employer Recover?
A key advantage that FELA claims have over workers’ compensation is the breadth of damages for which a FELA claim compensates an injured railroad worker. While workers’ compensation insurance only covers certain economic losses, a successful FELA claim could provide recovery for both economic and non-economic damages, including past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and past and future physical and emotional distress.
Furthermore, if a railroad laborer’s workplace injury is ultimately fatal, their surviving immediate family members are also eligible to pursue compensation under FELA. This compensation typically goes to a worker’s surviving wife and/or children, but if none of those parties are available, it could alternatively go to the worker’s surviving parents or other family members such as siblings.
Importantly, though, recovery through FELA is subject to reduction based on comparative negligence. In other words, if a laborer is found partially responsible for their own injuries, they may have their final compensation award reduced by whatever percentage of fault they bear. For example, an individual suffering from cancer-related to exposures to carcinogens like asbestos or diesel exhaust at work, may also have been a cigarette smoker. That individual can still recover damages under the FELA, however, the award may be reduced. A qualified railroad worker injury lawyer in New York could work with an individual plaintiff to contest comparative fault claims and ensure they can recover as much compensation as reasonably possible.
Seek Help from a New York Railroad Laborer Injury Attorney Today
Due to the many dangers associated with railway work, specialized federal legislation governs how railroad workers can seek financial recovery for workplace injuries. However, if you fail to seek help from legal counsel while pursuing compensation for a work injury, you may find yourself struggling to get all the monetary support you need—or potentially any at all.
Working with a New York railroad laborer injury lawyer is almost always a good idea if you intend to pursue compensation through FELA for harm you suffered through railroad work. Call today to speak with a legal representative about what may be possible in your situation.