Alabama citizens who work in the railroad industry are at risk of a range of serious on-the-job injuries. In the unfortunate event you’re hurt while working, it’s essential to understand the process of recovering compensation after your accident, as traditional workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t cover railroad employees.
Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, in 1908 to compensate railroad workers injured if the worker can prove that the railroad was partially negligent in causing the injury. FELA is similar to workers’ compensation but differs because it’s a fault-based system.
If you or a loved one worked for the railroad industry and were injured, you might be eligible for compensation. The FELA attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm in Alabama can provide guidance and advice on your paperwork and forms and assistance if your claim is denied. Talk to us today.
Any employee in any industry faces risks of accidents and injuries. However, railroad workers have an increased chance of accidents due to the inherently dangerous nature of the job. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported 3,840 railroad employee injuries and 17 fatalities in 2018.
Common dangers and injuries railroad workers experience include:
These types of accidents and factors can result in injuries and conditions, including:
As we discussed, railroad workers who suffer an injury aren’t covered under workers’ compensation, which is the traditional way employees are compensated for medical expenses and lost wages after workplace accidents. Instead, you may look to FELA.
The most significant difference between the two systems is that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning an employee may file for workers’ comp regardless of who was responsible for their accident. With FELA, the employee must be able to prove negligence on the part of another person or entity, like their employer, another employee, or an equipment manufacturer.
What this means, in a nutshell, is that as a railroad employee, your employer is responsible for providing you with a reasonably safe place to work. They can be held liable if they breach that duty and you suffer harm.
Another big difference between FELA and workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation claims bar the employee from seeking damages for pain and suffering. FELA claims are more like personal injury claims in that you are eligible to seek economic damages for your lost wages and medical expenses and non-economic losses like pain and suffering. If a railroad accident ends in death, surviving family members can file a FELA claim.
Typically, the burden of proof in FELA cases is lower than in personal injury cases. Often, if an employee is injured on the job and can prove the negligence of another party – even a tiny degree of negligence – they can recover compensation. Of course, every situation is different, and your Alabama FELA attorney can provide guidance.
Some examples of employer negligence that may merit a FELA claim include a failure to:
Suppose you or a family member were injured while working as a railroad employee. In that case, you must understand the timelines for bringing a claim and the essential information and paperwork you’ll need.
Alabama and federal law state that the statute of limitations for filing a FELA claim is three years from the date your injury occurred or was discovered. You may be permanently barred from recovering compensation if you wait longer than three years. Ensure you protect your rights to the compensation you deserve by notifying your employer about your injury immediately, and contact an attorney for advice on the next steps.
Working with an attorney after you’re injured on the job is not required, but it’s a smart idea. Proving negligence involves gathering evidence to support your case and proving the extent of your injuries and losses. Our legal team has decades of experience working with these types of claims.
We understand the difficulties of losing time from work and trying to recover from an injury. We’ll work to maximize the outcome of your case.
Railroad work comes with unique on-the-job dangers. If you’re a railroad employee injured in a work accident, the FELA lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm can help with your claim. Our Alabama legal team protects your rights to compensation and helps prove negligence. Reach out or fill out our contact form.