If you work for a railroad, there is a decent chance that you have a dangerous job. Railroad workers suffer on-the-job injuries in disproportionate numbers compared to workers in most other industries. Depending on your specific job, you might spend part of your day on a platform or scaffolding, or otherwise performing your duties at a height. If a tumble from an elevated area injured you, a railroad worker fall from heights lawyer could provide you with the help you need. You could be entitled to compensation for all your losses if you can prove your employer’s negligence contributed to the accident with the aid of a reliable railroad injury attorney.
High Falls Can Lead to Significant Injuries
Many railyard jobs put workers in a position to fall from a height. Mechanics, metalworkers, and others might work from raised platforms or scaffolding. Sometimes workers perform their duties near pits or on tracks high above grade, and a worker could fall from the raised track, mimicking the impact of a fall from a significant height. Depending on the circumstances, protective equipment such as a hard-hat might not prevent severe injury.
Falls from a height are more likely to cause severe injury than falls on level ground. The most common injuries resulting from falls from a height are:
- Fractures, especially to the lower extremities and hips
- Chest injuries, including broken ribs, bruised lungs, and pneumothorax
- Severe head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Aortic ruptures (which are often fatal)
Any of these injuries could require a worker to take significant time off to heal. An attorney who represents railyard employees in fall cases could ensure that any settlement is sufficient to cover the employee’s expenses, now and in the future.
Federal Law Protects Railroad Workers
The Federal Employee Liability Act (FELA), 45 United States Code § 51, provides compensation for railroad workers injured on the job. Railroad employees cannot bring claims under their state’s workers’ compensation program, and instead must seek compensation under FELA. There are several important differences between the two programs.
Workers’ compensation programs do not consider fault when awarding benefits, but an attorney for an injured railroad employee who fell from a height must establish employer negligence to get damages under FELA. If the worker’s negligence contributed to their accident, their damages could be reduced accordingly.
Damages from a successful FELA claim might provide an injured worker with more adequate compensation for their injury than they could receive if they were injured while working in another industry. A railroad worker could collect all their lost wages, including a sum representing future wages they cannot earn due to their injury. They also could receive reimbursement for all medical care, including care that will be necessary in the future, and awards for pain, suffering, and the injury’s impact on their quality of life.
Venue of the Claim
FELA cases are tried before a judge or a jury and could be filed in any state or federal court. Workers’ compensation hearings are usually informal administrative proceedings.
Depending on the state, an injured employee generally must file a workers’ comp claim within one year of their injury. An injured railroad worker has three years to file a lawsuit seeking damages under FELA.
Proving a Railroad’s Negligence
As soon as a lawyer takes on a case, they could begin investigating the client’s fall to identify negligence. The railroad does not need to be 100 percent responsible for the accident; it is necessary only that their acts or omissions contributed to it.
Perhaps the railroad provided inadequate training or did not strictly enforce safety rules. Maybe staffing was inadequate to ensure a particular job could be performed safely. Shoddy equipment maintenance could lead to a fall. An advocate with experience handling FELA cases knows what to look for to establish evidence of employer negligence that would support a claim for damages.
Seek Compensation with a Railroad Worker Fall from Heights Attorney
If you work in a railyard and a serious fall has caused you a significant injury, get legal help as soon as possible. A professional representative could handle negotiations with your employer to ensure that you receive fair treatment and adequate compensation. The sooner you begin working with a railroad worker fall from heights lawyer, the sooner your case is likely to resolve. Schedule a consultation today.