Railroad Worker Injuries: What is FELA?

railroad worker welding

FELA Overview

When a worker is injured on the job, they no doubt want to be compensated for their injuries. For most workers employed in the private sector, workers’ compensation insurance is the best way to seek compensation for medical expenses, and sometimes even compensation for lost wages when the employee is unable to return to work. However, workers’ compensation does not apply to all workers.

Railroad workers in the United States are covered under a different type of benefit program: The Federal Employers’ Liability Act, or FELA.


The Differences Between FELA and Workers’ Compensation

The most obvious difference between FELA and workers’ compensation is that FELA is only for injured railroad workers and their families, and is a federal recovery system. Another huge difference between workers’ compensation and FELA is that FELA is a fault system, whereas workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that in order to bring forth a claim under FELA, a worker must prove that the railroad (the railroad company, an employee, etc.) was negligent, and that the negligence contributed to the workers’ injuries. However, the burden of proof, or the degree of fault, that the worker must establish is much less in a FELA claim than a standard negligence claim.


How FELA Claims Are Filed

When a railroad worker is injured on the job, they should file a FELA claim directly with the railroad company or the responsible employer. However, in the event that the claim is not paid, is denied, is ignored, or other issues arise, the injured party can also bring forth a suit in state or federal court.

FELA also applies to former railroad workers who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, bladder cancer, or kidney cancer as a result to dangerous chemical exposure while on the job.


Our Attorneys Can Help

Having to prove that a railroad company failed to provide you with a safe place to work or/and that an act of negligence occurred can be challenging, but it is very important to do in order to recover the compensation you deserve. For legal assistance in navigating your FELA claim and improving your chances of a fair settlement, contact the attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today.

We have offices across the country including in New York, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas. We also  work with local affiliates nationwide. The consultation is free and we do not collect any fees unless we win your case.