Workplaces that involve the use of heavy machinery, specifically railroad stations, can place workers at great risk for onsite injuries that can be very severe and sometimes fatal. Injuries that happen on worksites are commonly due to inappropriate and dangerous working conditions. These injuries can result in major medical costs, missed wages, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, loss of earning capacity, and permanent disability. Fortunately, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) was implemented to protect injured railroad workers when these injuries happen in high-traffic work sites.
FELA was implemented in 1908 and has been around for over a century to provide protection to injured railroad workers. FELA is different from workers compensation, because in cases involving FELA, there must be proof that the railroad company was negligent by failing to uphold their duty of care, causing the worker to be injured. Duty of care is the understanding that the railroad has the responsibility to provide all their workers with a safe working environment. When railroad companies fail to provide this to their workers, and there is an injury because of this failure, the railroad company is considered liable for the worker’s injury.
Under the workers compensation system, an injured employee can receive payments for their injury regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Under FELA, a railroad employee must prove that the defendant, usually the railroad company, was in some way negligent for the incident. This means that the injured employee can be somewhat responsible for their injury and receive compensation. If the employee can prove that the railroad company was in any way negligent for causing the injury, the employee can receive compensation under FELA. Therefore, the railroads negligence does not need to be the primary cause of the injury — it only needs to be part of the cause. However, when the railroad company is not the sole cause of the injury and the worker has some fault, the compensation amount will decrease accordingly.
Railroad occupations can hold a lot of risk for injury, but all railroad companies are required to provide their employees with a safe and danger free working environment. Even if the worker was partly at fault for an accident, they can still receive compensation under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act. If you or a loved one was injured on a railroad site, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced lawyers at Goldstein and Bashner are here to help you get what you deserve. Contact us today for consultation.