Alabama Railroad Worker Injury and FELA Attorneys
Protecting the rights of injured railroad workers
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 important to understand the process of recovering compensation after your accident, as railroad employees aren’t covered by traditional workers’ compensation insurance.
Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, in 1908 to provide compensation for railroad workers injured on the job, if the worker can prove that the railroad was at least partly 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 on the job, 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, as well as provide assistance if your claim is denied. Talk to us today.
Common railroad worker accidents and injuries
Any employee in any industry faces risks of accidents and injuries. However, railroad workers have an increased chance of accidents due to the inherent dangerous nature of the job. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports 3,840 railroad employee injuries and 17 fatalities in 2018.
Common dangers and injuries railroad workers experience include:
- Railway crashes
- Crossing accidents
- Equipment and machinery accidents
- Struck by vehicle accidents
- Burns and electrocution
- Exposure to dangerous materials
These types of accidents and factors can result in injuries and conditions, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Back, neck, and spine injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Cancer or respiratory diseases from toxic exposure
Recovering compensation after an Alabama railway work accident
As we talked about before, railroad workers who suffer an injury on the job 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 biggest 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 a reasonably safe place to work. If they breach that duty and you suffer harm as a result, they can be held liable.
Another big difference between FELA and workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation claims bar the employee from seeking damages for things like 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, as well as non-economic losses like pain and suffering. In the event a railroad accident ends in death, surviving family members are eligible to file a FELA claim.
How employer negligence leads to railroad employee injury
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 small 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:
- Follow proper OSHA procedure
- Enforce safety rules
- Properly train employees
- Properly supervise employees
- Maintain or replace faulty equipment
- Provide proper safety and protective gear
- Inspect workplace to ensure it’s free of hazards
Statute of limitations for FELA claims
If you or a family member were injured while working as a railroad employee, it’s critical you understand the timelines for bringing a claim, as well as the important information and paperwork you’ll need.
Alabama and federal law states that the statute of limitations for filing a FELA claim is three years from the date your injury occurred or was discovered. Note that this means if you wait longer than three years, you may be permanently barred from recovering compensation. 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 next steps.
It’s not required to work with an attorney after you’re injured on the job, but it’s a smart idea. Proving negligence involves gathering evidence to support your case, as well as 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.
Reliable Alabama FELA claim attorneys
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 clam. Our Alabama legal team protects your rights to compensation and helps prove negligence. We have offices in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Florence, Mobile, Montgomery and Gadsden. For a consultation, call us at 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form.