Railroads have been around for centuries and to this day are still used across the United States to transport raw materials and finished goods from state to state. Railroads have long been regulated by federal law to promote efficiency and uniformity in safety standards, among others. Of all types of accidents, railroad accidents can produce some of the most devastating results, ranging from amputation of limbs, paralysis, to death. Employees working on a railroad run the risk of being hit by a train or injuring themselves while using heavy rail equipment to carry out their job duties.
Fortunately for railroad workers, federal law provides protection for those injured on the job through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, commonly known as FELA. This federal law was passed by Congress in 1908 and designed to help injured railroaders recover for injuries caused by the negligence of the railroad company. Since most railroaders are not covered under their state’s workers’ compensation system, their only avenue to recover in a train accident case could be through asserting a claim under FELA. Unlike workers’ compensation, damages available in a FELA lawsuit may include full lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.Succeeding in a FELA Claim
To succeed on a FELA claim, the injured worker must be able to prove that the railroad was at least partially responsible for the worker’s injuries. This is unlike the typical state law workers’ compensation claim, in which it is not always necessary to prove the employer’s negligence. In a FELA case, the negligence must result from “any of the officers, agents, or employees of such carrier, or by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.”
It is easy to see how FELA cases are extremely fact-specific, making it critical to fully investigate a railroad accident. When a railroad employee is hurt at work, it is likely that multiple factors could have led to the injury. Railroad companies and their employees must follow many specific federal regulations, and proving a violation could show a jury that a railroad company was to blame for the employee’s injuries and medical bills.
Railroad employees who think they may have been partially to blame for the accident and their injuries should not give up. Under FELA, employees who are found to be partially responsible for the incident may still recover damages, as the law specifically states comparative negligence is not a complete bar to recovery. Instead, the injured worker’s damages will be diminished by his or her percentage of fault.
Injured railroad employees should seek an experienced railroad accident attorney immediately. Federal law provides a limited timeframe in which to bring these claims. An injured railroad employee only has three (3) years to properly assert his or her claim, or else the claim will be barred forever. As time goes on, evidence may disappear and witness’ memories could fade. If you were injured while working on a railroad, you should seek counsel immediately who can begin investigating the accident and working on your case.Consult an Experienced FELA Lawyer in Memphis or Surrounding Areas
If you have been injured while working on a railroad, you can consult the aggressive FELA attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz. We are experienced trial advocates who know how to handle a claim with the tenacity that you deserve. Our firm serves victims in communities throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri, including in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Columbus, Grenada, Starkville, Oxford, Haiti, and Caruthersville. Contact our office toll-free by calling 1-800-LAW-4004 or by completing our online form to set up a free consultation. If you need an attorney to fight for your rights, NST is the way to go.