Of all the ways a railroad worker can get hurt at work, an automobile accident may seem a particularly unlikely and unexpected one. However, because many railroad workers travel to, from, and around worksites in company-owned or operated motor vehicles, their risk of getting involved in such an incident is higher than some people may think. Those injured in on-the-job auto accidents as railroad workers in Pennsylvania may have different options for pursuing financial compensation. A dedicated railroad accident lawyer could walk you through your options and help you find the best course of action for your specific situation.
Recovering Through a FELA Claim
Although they may not directly involve trains or even railyard equipment, motor vehicle accidents that occur in the context of railroad work in Pennsylvania can still give rise to a claim under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA). Railroad workers are generally not eligible for claims under state workers’ compensation laws. A FELA claim is the effective equivalent of workers’ comp for railroad employees. In order to be eligible to file such a claim over a car crash, though, a railroad worker must be able to prove that negligence by their employer directly led to the auto wreck that harmed them.
There are various ways that a car accident that causes injury to a railroad worker could be considered “job-related,” not all of which require that the accident actually occurs on property owned by a railroad company or municipal rail authority. For example, if a negligently maintained company car breaks down and causes a wreck while being used to transport a railroad worker from one worksite to another, the combination of job-related tasks and employer negligence could give rise to a FELA claim. Only an experienced FELA motor vehicle attorney is qualified to evaluate a Pennsylvania railroad worker motor vehicle accident.
In exchange for requiring proof of the railroad’s negligence, even in part, a successful FELA claim allows recovery for both economic and non-economic effects of that negligence. A qualified attorney could discuss with an individual accident victim what damages may be available under their particular circumstances.
What If a Third Party Is Responsible?
Financial recovery after on-the-job motor vehicle accidents may still be possible for Pennsylvania railroad workers even if the incident did not stem from employer negligence, albeit not through a FELA claim. Instead, a qualified lawyer could help pursue a third-party lawsuit against the party responsible for the incident—a reckless driver, a careless municipal entity, or even an auto parts manufacturer whose defective vehicle component directly led to a crash.
Since these types of claims fall under standard Pennsylvania personal injury law rather than the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, different rules and restrictions may apply to financial recovery. Assistance from knowledgeable legal counsel can be especially crucial to determining which filing option is best and maximizing compensation through third-party litigation.
Helping Pennsylvania Railroad Workers Recover from On-the-Job Auto Accidents
Car wrecks on and around railroad worksites can cause significant injuries and result in numerous financial and personal losses, so seeking fair financial compensation from the party or parties responsible for these incidents is often essential to protect an injured worker’s future prospects. However, it can be hard for any individual crash victim to effectively pursue compensation on their own, especially if they are unsure of which filing options are even available to them.
When it comes to recovering after railroad worker on-the-job auto accidents in Pennsylvania, there is no substitute for help from an experienced legal professional. Call today.