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As a railroad worker, you are exposed to moving trains, massive plants, and outmoded equipment that can result in injuries or death. Like any other worker, you have a right to compensation in case of these eventualities. Sadly, most railroad workers do not understand their rights or acts that protect them. For instance, did you know that there is an act that protects you in case you are injured in the line of duty? Well, we have compiled this quick guide covering the essential rights you need to know as a railroad worker.
How the Federal Employer Liability Act protect Railroad Workers
For starters, you need to know about the Federal Employer Liability Act, otherwise known as FELA. FELA is an act that was enforced to protect, compensate injuries and reimburse monetary losses of railroad workers who get injured in their line of duty due to negligence.
The act gives an injured railroad worker the freedom to file a lawsuit against their railroad employer. According to an experienced FELA lawyer, railroad settlements are fault-based. You need to prove that the injuries sustained are in whole or in part due to the negligence of the railroad. If the railroad has violated safety regulation, you do not need to give any proof as the congress imposes full liability to the railroad.
Now, compared to the workers’ compensation that offers reimbursement per pre-established benefits, settlements under FELA are based on comparative negligence. The jury determines the amount of compensation that you should receive depending on the percentage of negligence each party is liable to.
What damages are covered by FELA?
Depending on the degree of negligence, the severity and nature of the injury, you should be compensated for:
- Past and future loss of wages, suffering, pain and medical expenses
- Future fringe benefits
- Loss of organs and limbs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Humiliation and shame as a result of disability and scars
- Your dependent’s economic loss in case of death.
How to make a FELA claim
After an injury, write an incident report and inform your supervisor. Then proceed and seek medical intervention, preferably from another doctor other than the railroad doctor. Due to the conflict of interest, the railroad doctor could compromise their report.
For instance, the railroad doctor may act in favor of the employer and report that you only sustained fewer injuries from the accident. Before you proceed to file a personal injury claim, ensure to hire an experienced FELA Lawyer to advise on the best course of action. The railroad lawyer will gather substantial evidence and present all the documents on time to ensure that you are compensated fairly for the damages incurred.
Thanks to the pressure placed on the railroad industry by FELA, the railroad industry has become a safer place of work. As a railroad worker, you should know that you have rights. Yes, you are now protected in your line of duty against injuries and wrongful death. So, don’t hesitate to speak to an attorney who specializes in FELA railroad settlements to help fight for your rights.