Workers’ compensation laws have existed for many years, but even before those laws were enacted the federal government passed the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA). This law allowed railway workers who were injured on the job to file legal action for those injuries.

What is FELA?

Like workers’ compensation, FELA is designed to compensate someone who is injured on the job. However, FELA is significantly different than workers’ compensation. Under a workers’ compensation claim, you do not have to prove that your employer was negligent or at fault for your injury. Your only requirement is to prove that the injury occurred while you were performing the duties required under your employment. FELA requires that you prove that your employer was negligent and that the negligence caused your injury. The burden of proof on you is much stronger than it is during a workers’ compensation claim.

Claims for Damages

Under workers’ compensation, your benefits are limited to lost wages, medical bills and disability payments. Under FELA, you are able to claim more extensive damages including past and future medical bills as well as past and future wages. You may also seek compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional trauma
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Permanent full or partial disability

A FELA claim can be brought in any state or federal court while workers’ compensation claims are taken to state industrial or workers’ compensation courts.

Covered Injuries

Injuries covered under FELA include broken bones, joint sprains, pulled muscles and repetitive movement injuries. Occupational diseases such as asbestosis, cancer or hearing loss are also eligible for claims. Pre-existing conditions that may have been worsened by your employment are also covered. It is important to remember that to succeed with a FELA claim, you must prove not only that your employer was negligent but that the negligence led to your injury or illness. Acts that have been determined as negligent include:

  • Failing to properly implement workplace safety rules
  • Failing to properly train employees
  • Failure to provide proper equipment and tools
  • Failure to provide adequate staffing

A FELA claim must be brought within three years from the date of the injury. If you were injured as a railroad employee, contact the railroad workplace injury attorneys at Lundy Law to learn whether you are eligible for a FELA claim. You can arrange a consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or completing the form online.

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