Know What to do after a Railroad Injury
Railroad injuries are unlike most workplace injuries in the United States. In 1908, the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) was passed, a game-changer in terms of employee rights when injured as a railroad worker. Unlike most workplaces, this law entitles railroad workers to sue their employees directly. This is why it is imperative that if you are a railroad employee and have recently been injured, you contact an attorney specializing in railroad injury lawsuits to ensure you receive the full settlement to which you are entitled.
Employer’s Negligence = Lawsuit
If your employer has been negligent in any way, you more than likely have a case under FELA. The level of negligence is irrelevant, as long as it can be proved that the negligence occurred. Some examples of employer negligence are:
- Not properly enforcing safety procedures and policies
- Failing to provide a safe work environment
- Failure to inspect trails and worksites for dangerous hazards
- Not supplying safe equipment, tool, and machinery for workers
- Not supplying proper safety devices
- Lack of training and/or supervision for employees
- Improper staffing to safely conduct work
- Failing to protect staff from other employee negligence
FELA Covered Injuries
There seems to be a widespread belief that only physical injuries are covered under FELA, but that is simply not true. Virtually every injury and illness that occurs due to workplace negligence is covered under this legislation. Some common examples of FELA covered injuries are:
- Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Cumulative trauma (think long-term asbestos exposure)
- Slip and falls
- Injuries due to dangerous and/or defective equipment
- Stress injuries due to repetitiveness of job duties
Know Your FELA Rights
First and foremost, it is important to understand that ALL railroad employees are covered under FELA, not just those working on trains or working directly on the tracks. If you are employed by a railroad company, you are covered under this legislation. Some key points to remember are:
- While state workers’ compensation is limited in scope, FELA claims are not limited to just disability and medical benefits.
- FELA claims do NOT require proof that the employer was the primary source of negligence that resulted in your injury (for personal injury claims, you have the burden of proof).
Who is Liable for My Injuries?
All employees have an expected duty to conduct themselves safely when working. There is, however, also a responsibility for the employer to provide as safe conditions as possible regardless of how dangerous the actual job is. Employers are required to have the proper safety measures in place to prevent injuries under normal operating conditions.
For instance, if a slip and fall accident occurs due to unsafe conditions, there may actually be numerous parties at fault, including parties outside of your employer. Was the fall due to safety measures not being in place? Was it due to faulty equipment? If the injury was a result of malfunctioning equipment, even the equipment manufacturer could be brought into the lawsuit for liability.
Investigating and dissecting the injury can be challenging, as I am sure you can imagine, which is why our team at Injury Law Rights works on your behalf to identify ALL liable parties.
What to Do if Injured
If you are employed by the railroad industry and have experienced an injury, you should:
- Immediately seek proper medical attention (unlike a workers’ compensation claim, you do NOT need the approval of your employer for doctor’s care)
- Inform your union representative of the accident
- Immediately write down everything you remember about the accident
- If possible, immediately take pictures of the area where the accident occurred, including pictures of the “unsafe” or “dangerous” conditions that resulted in the accident
- If there are any witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information
- Do NOT speak to anyone from the railroad and/or their insurance companies (that is what your attorney is there for)
How Long Do FELA Claims Take to Settle?
While there is no one size fits all answer to this question, generally speaking, these types of cases usually take about 12 to 15 months to conclude. The nature of your case as well as where the case is filed will also impact how long the case takes to conclude. For instance, a case with long-term medical implications and care will normally take significantly longer than a case where the injury and recovery are easily defined (think broken hand versus spinal injury).
Do I Need a Railroad Injury Attorney?
If you have recently been injured and work for the railroad industry, it is imperative to contact a skilled and experienced railroad injury attorney familiar with FELA lawsuits. Our team is here for you, so all you need to do is call us at 855.633.0888 to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. Your consultation is free and you are not obligated to use our services for discussing your case. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before contacting us, please click here.