The United States railroad system plays a critical role in the nation’s economy, transporting goods and passengers efficiently across great distances. However, working in the railroad industry has inherent risks, and accidents can have severe consequences for railroad employees. If you’ve been injured in a train accident or while working on the railway, it’s essential to understand the compensation process to receive the benefits you deserve.
This article will discuss the compensation process for injured railroad workers in the United States and the experienced attorneys at Hoey & Farina, P.C. Understanding your rights and the legal avenues available will make you better prepared to seek justice and focus on your healing and well-being.
What is FELA?
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a United States federal law enacted in 1908 to protect railroad workers injured. FELA provides a legal framework for injured railroad workers to pursue compensation from their employers and hold them accountable for negligence and unsafe working conditions that directly contribute to accidents and injuries. Unlike traditional workers’ compensation, FELA allows injured workers to file claims in federal or state courts and seek compensation through jury verdicts or settlements.
What is the Difference between FELA and Workers’ Compensation?
FELA is explicitly designed to address the unique circumstances and risks associated with railroad work, while workers’ compensation is a more general system that covers employees in various industries. There are some important differences between the two systems:
- Fault: Unlike workers’ compensation, which generally operates on a no-fault basis, FELA requires the injured worker to prove that their employer (or co-worker) was negligent in some way and that the negligence directly contributed to their injury.
- Compensation: Workers’ compensation provides a predetermined set of benefits for injured workers regardless of fault, whereas FELA allows for compensation that is based on the degree of the employer’s negligence and reflects the full extent of the worker’s damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, among other things.
- Legal Representation: Injured workers pursuing a FELA claim have the right to hire a railroad injury FELA lawyer to represent them in court, while workers’ compensation claims are typically handled administratively without the need for legal counsel.
What Type of Injuries Does FELA Cover?
FELA covers a wide range of injuries railroad workers sustained, including physical and psychological injuries. Common types of injuries covered under FELA include:
- Traumatic injuries: These include broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, amputations, and other severe injuries resulting from train accidents, falls, or other traumatic events.
- Occupational illnesses: FELA covers work-related illnesses that develop over time, such as repetitive stress injuries, hearing loss, and respiratory or lung conditions caused by exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos.
- Psychiatric or psychological injuries: Under FELA, railroad workers may also recover damages for mental or emotional distress caused by a physical injury or a traumatic event, such as witnessing a co-worker’s severe injury or death.
How Do Railroad Workers Receive Compensation for Their Injuries
To receive compensation under FELA, injured railroad workers must follow a specific process:
- Report the injury: Following the company’s injury reporting procedures, workers should immediately report their injury to their supervisor or employer.
- Seek medical attention: Obtaining medical treatment for the injury is crucial to document its severity and ensure a proper recovery.
- Gather evidence: Injured workers should collect relevant information, such as witness statements, photographs, and medical records, to support their claim and establish their employer’s negligence.
- Contact a FELA lawyer: A knowledgeable railroad accident attorney can help navigate the complex legal system, gather additional evidence, and negotiate with the railroad company on the worker’s behalf.
- File a FELA claim: With the help of their attorney, the injured worker can file a FELA claim in federal or state court and pursue compensation through litigation or settlement negotiations.
Benefits Workers Can Claim Under the Law
FELA allows injured railroad workers to claim a range of benefits and compensation, including:
- Medical Expenses: Injured workers can receive compensation for past and future medical expenses related to their injury, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any necessary medical equipment.
- Lost Wages: FELA provides compensation for lost wages, both past and future, resulting from time taken off work due to the injury.
- Pain and Suffering: Injured workers can recover damages for physical pain and emotional suffering stemming from their injury.
- Permanent Disability: If the injury results in permanent disability or impairment, FELA allows for compensation to cover the worker’s ongoing medical care, loss of future earning capacity, and diminished quality of life.
- Funeral Expenses and Death Benefits: In cases where a railroad worker’s injury results in death, FELA allows the worker’s spouse or dependents to recover compensation for funeral expenses and financial support.
Contact a Hoey & Farina, P.C. FELA Attorney Firm
Navigating the complexities of a FELA claim can be challenging without the proper legal guidance. The experienced FELA lawyers at Hoey & Farina, P.C. can help injured railroad workers understand their rights, gather the necessary evidence, and advocate to secure the compensation they deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional attorney firm with a strong track record in FELA cases to protect your rights and ensure you receive the best possible representation.
Secure the Compensation You Deserve with Expert FELA Representation
Railroad work comes with inherent risks, and accidents resulting in injuries can have significant consequences on workers and their families. Understanding your rights and the compensation process under FELA is essential to ensuring you receive the financial support and benefits you deserve after a railroad injury. With a skilled FELA railroad accident attorney’s guidance, navigating your case’s complexities and securing fair compensation becomes a more manageable task.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a railroad accident, don’t hesitate to seek the professional help you need. Contact Hoey & Farina, P.C., a team of expert FELA railroad accident attorneys for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to fighting for the justice and support you deserve, allowing you to focus on your recovery and future.