How To File a Railroad Worker FELA Injury Claim?
Federal law governs FELA work injury claims involving railway workers. FELA claims are complex and few attorneys handle them. These cases can be especially complicated where a party other than the railroad employer shares fault for an injury.
Hi. I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David W. Holub.
Injured railroad workers must sue for Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) benefits.
FELA claims are processed under federal law, whereas non railway workers compensation claims are governed by state law.
FELA claims are complex and a limited number of attorneys handle them.
A three-year statute of limitations applies to most FELA claims, allowing an injury victim three years to sue.
But FELA cases can be complicated, and if a party other than the railroad employer shares fault for the injury deadline to sue can be much shorter.
For example, suppose a worker is injured when a hydraulic hose bursts on a locomotive. The work may be able to sue under FELA for up to three years, but suit against the hose manufacturer, if a defect caused the hose to burst, must be typically filed in two years.
Here are some other differences to keep in mind.
Standard workers’ compensation claims typically permit a reduced weekly wage benefit (often 66% of their average weekly wage)
But, railroad FELA claimants may be entitled to 100% of their lost wages.
Also, unlike standard workers’ compensation claims, FELA claimants may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.
But there is a trade-off.
Unlike “no fault” workers’ compensations laws where the injured worker does not need to establish fault on the part of the employer, if you bring a claim under FELA you must to show that the railroad or its employees were negligent and caused your injuries.
Railroad negligence can include failing to provide a reasonably safe work environment, providing unsafe equipment or tools, and failing to use needed safety devices.
Failure to inspect the work environment to maintain a free of hazards work place also may come into play as may failure to properly train and supervise employees, or failure to enforce safety rules and regulations.
If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. Also, you may like our book Fighting for Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight into What it Takes to Win.