Railroad workers have one of the most important and dangerous jobs anywhere. Recognizing the dangers inherent in the job, the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA was enacted in 1908. It entitled railroad workers or their dependents to sue railroad companies for compensation if they were injured or killed on the job. Even though the law is intended to provide protection and compensation for railroad workers, in practice it can be difficult for an individual to pursue a claim through the courts unaided. Having a FELA lawyer on your side can make all the difference to getting the full compensation due to you.
A safer workplace for railroad workers
Since the late nineteenth century, railroads have helped to move goods and people across the country. Theirs is a difficult and dangerous profession. To protect railroad workers, FELA was enacted to provide a safe workplace, and to protect the rights of workers. Under the law, railroads were required to provide reasonable conditions of safety, as well as the appropriate and necessary equipment, tools, and safety devices.
The law also obligated railroad companies to use safe work practices and regularly inspect the workplace for safety hazards.
A dangerous profession
Even with these safeguards in place, railroad workers have a dangerous profession. Data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) indicated that there are around 7,000 accidents every years involving railroad employees, causing severe injury, occupational illness, or death.
For the year 2015 alone, records show the following figures for railroad accidents:
- 3,919 railroad accidents and incidents
- 240 total railroad fatalities
- 46 train collisions
- 490 train derailments
- 189 incidents due to track issues
- 259 incidents due to human factors
- six railroad employee fatalities
- 1,430 nonfatal injuries to railroad employees
What FELA does
The railroad law is intended to ensure that injured railroad workers and their families receive fair compensation for an injury or death. FELA law ensures that dependents – spouse and children – of railroad workers injured or killed on the job will be compensated fairly.
FELA lawyers can help you file a claim and see it though the court system. Claims must be filed within three years of the accident, and may be filed in state or deferral court.
How a FELA lawyer can help
For someone who has suffered a serious accident or injury, dealing with the legal system can be very difficult. They are likely already struggling with a number of other problems, such as medical and health issues, insurance and disability claims, and even the problems of day to day living.
A railroad injury lawyer can take the burden off the individual, while offering the benefits of their knowledge and experience. Railroad lawyers can use their specialized knowledge to ensure that the injured worker or dependents receive the full compensation to which they are entitled.
Even with a law intended to protect their rights, injured workers or their dependents can find it difficult to follow their claims to a successful conclusion singlehandedly. Having a FELA lawyer on your team ensures that a fair compensation will paid.