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If you have been injured as a railroad worker and tried to file a claim for compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), you have probably encountered a confusing and complicated process. Before you file a FELA claim, it is important to understand how this law works, what losses are covered, and how negligence and liability apply in your case. To successfully do this and obtain the compensation you deserve, it is vital to have an experienced St. Louis FELA lawyer representing you.
At The Cagle Law Firm, our Missouri and Illinois FELA lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you are owed if you suffered a railroad related injury during your work duties. You are likely in considerable pain and worried about your financial wellbeing, but regardless of your injury, we understand what is at stake and how to secure what you need to recover and get back to the life you enjoyed.
How FELA Helps Injured Railroad Workers
In 1908, Congress passed FELA to ensure railroad employees who suffer injuries in the workplace can receive adequate compensation for their injuries. FELA is applicable for any railroad company that participates in interstate or foreign commerce. This exclusively covers intrastate railroads that transport goods to or from another state or country. FELA gives railroad workers the legal right to recover compensation for the injuries they sustain due to the whole or partial negligence of a railroad company, its employees, servants, or agents. A highly skilled St. Louis FELA lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Categories of rail workers covered under FELA include:
- Maintenance workers
- Trained construction workers
- Railroad police officers.
Any railroad worker injured due to employer negligence but not covered by standard workers’ compensation has the legal right to file a lawsuit under FELA against the railroad company for compensation. An experienced FELA attorney from our team can help you file such a lawsuit.
The provisions of FELA make it easier to demonstrate liability and lower the burden of proof in many negligence scenarios. Where the railroad company violated a safety regulation or statute, the need to prove negligence is waived.
FELA is different than many traditional workers’ compensation laws in that it allows the plaintiff to recover many common damages, including loss of salary or wages, future income capacity, medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Compensation is contingent upon the plaintiff proving negligence occurred. As well, there are specific complex criteria involved in the calculation of damages.
Proving Railroad Negligence to Recover Damages
FELA is a fault-based system involving proof of negligence to recover damages for employment-related injuries. An experienced St. Louis FELA lawyer can help establish the source of negligence in your case whether it occurred in Missouri, Illinois, or Kentucky. Negligence on the part of a railroad employer consists of the employer’s failure to provide a reasonably safe environment, location, equipment, or other conditions related to the job. Under FELA, injured workers are awarded damages for their injuries based on the percentage fault determined to rest with the railroad company. Therefore, if an injured worker proves $500,000 worth of medical expenses, wage loss, disability, and pain and suffering, and also assuming a jury found the railroad and the injured worker equally at fault for the injury (50-50), the injured worker would be entitled to collect $250,000 in damages.
If a railroad is shown to have violated certain federal laws or regulations, the worker is not required to show negligence, and the railroad is 100 percent liable for injuries the worker sustained regardless of the worker’s level of fault for the accident.
Incidents Involving Railroad Liability
A certain employer-employee relationship exists between a railroad company and its employees that requires a safe work environment. Unfortunately, accidents still occur. Due to the often-dynamic nature of a rail worker’s profession, it can be difficult to determine if an injury was due to employer negligence, but a railroad company may be held liable for any number of injuries, including:
- Injuries sustained due to dangerous conditions at a location the employee is sent to perform work, regardless of who owns the property
- Injuries resulting from the negligence of another one of the railroad company’s employees
- A verified violation of the “Locomotive Inspection Acts” or the “Safety Appliance Acts” (federal laws that establish standards for equipment and maintenance on railroad cars – for example, brakes)
- Injuries suffered from a particular condition or sensitivity of which the employer is aware, and which made a workplace or task too dangerous for the employee
- Injuries or diseases such as hearing loss or silicosis that stem from the failure of the railroad company to create a safe working environment.
Although the railroad industry has improved its safety posture over the years due to the application of more advanced technology and many successful injury claims under FELA, various dangers still exist in these workplace environments.
At The Cagle Law Firm, we offer effective legal representation and practical guidance for clients filing a FELA claim. An experienced St. Louis FELA lawyer from our team with extensive knowledge of the FELA claims process can handle every aspect of your case and will work to recover the maximum amount of damages you are owed.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis FELA Attorney
If you suffered an accident and subsequent injuries, while working in the railroad industry, you have the right to obtain full and fair compensation if another party was at fault. At The Cagle Law Firm, we can manage your injury claim through the FELA claims process to help you secure the financial recovery you need for your injuries, lost wages, and more.