Worksite Injuries Covered by FELA

Construction worker carrying heavy tube with jobsite in the background.

Injuries often occur on worksites, especially high intensity sites like railroads. These injuries can range from minor to severe, and they can even be fatal in some cases. Injuries on worksites can occur while completing a work task during a shift and can result in long recoveries that lead to missed workdays and high medical costs. When this occurs, injured workers may qualify for workers compensation and other benefits. The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) covers the rights given to injured workers on the job.

The Federal Employer’s Liability Act- On the Job Injuries

Enacted in 1908, FELA has aimed to protect injured railroad workers for over a century. This law supports and compensates railroad workers from injuries they suffered during work. FELA is not a workers compensation act. To receive these benefits, there must be proof that the railroad displayed some type of negligence.

When determining negligence, it is crucial to understand duty of care. Duty of care involves the railroad’s responsibility to provide a safe environment and workspace to all its workers. When the railroad fails to provide this to their employees, they may be held liable for their injuries. The railroad will be considered negligent when a worker is injured because the railroad did not uphold their duty of care.

The Federal Employer’s Liability Act and Worksite Damages and Injuries

FELA aims to provide compensation and support to injured workers for injuries that occurred while on the job. FELA is different from workers compensation in many ways. In a FELA claim, the injured worker must prove that their employer was negligent and that the negligence of the employer was the cause of their injury. In a workers compensation claim, the injured party must only prove that the employer was negligent.

FELA can recover a variety of claims for damages. Damages recoverable from FELA include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Permanent partial or full disability.

FELA can also recover compensation for several different kinds of injuries. Generally, these include:

  • Traumatic injuries: broken bones, torn muscles, etc.
  • Repetitive motion injuries:  tendonitis, and other movement resistant injuries
  • Occupation diseases: mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung damage, etc.
  • Aggravations of pre-existing conditions: when a present injury among a worker worsens under working for their employer.

Contact a Lawyer If You Have Been Injured on the Job at a Railroad

Railroad occupations can be very dangerous. These jobs involve high-capacity machinery and harmful toxins. All railroad employers are required to maintain a  safe environment for their employees. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job at a railroad, you may be entitled to compensation under FELA. The experienced lawyers at Goldstein and Bashner are here to help you recover what you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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