As a railroad worker who sustained an injury on the job, you will want to learn about FELA and how this federal act may assist you in receiving compensation.

One of the FELA provisions speaks to the “featherweight” burden of proof. How does this apply when you are preparing to file a claim for your injury?

The Federal Employers Liability Act explained

The Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, provides recovery for railroad workers injured on the job, including those who do not work on or around trains.

If you are the injured worker, you will have to show that the defendant acted negligently. The party at fault for your injury could be the railroad or its employees. It could also be an equipment manufacturer.

Railroad company guidelines

FELA provides guidelines for the safety standards pertaining to railroad workers. These standards must comply with those aimed at workplace safety, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Boiler Inspection Act and the Safety Appliance Act establish.

The burden of proof

The amount of negligence required for your FELA claim is considerably less than that required in a motor vehicle accident claim. You only need to show that some level of negligence, however small, played a role in causing your injury. The legal system sometimes refers to this as a “featherweight” burden of proof.

Comparative negligence

Even if you are partly to blame for the injury, you may still be eligible to receive compensation. However, the percentage of your own fault may reduce the amount of compensation you receive accordingly.

Keep in mind that whatever the percentage of your own negligence, it cannot prevent settlement under the claim unless your negligence was the only cause of your injury. Furthermore, a lawsuit brought under FELA does not always involve a trial. Often, parties use mediation to settle these types of cases rather than litigation.