If you or a family member suffered an injury while working for a railroad company, you may be eligible for legal compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act. FELA holds railroads and related employers responsible for injuries that occur at work because of their negligence.

These are the answers to common questions injured workers have about filing a FELA claim.

What types of injuries does FELA cover?

All bodily injuries that occur while working for a railroad can potentially result in FELA damages, regardless of whether you were working directly at the railroad line at the time of the injury. In addition to acute injuries such as broken bones and pulled muscles, the law allows coverage for injuries and illness resulting from ongoing physical stress and trauma, repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, hearing loss, emotional distress, and exposure to asbestos and other contaminants.

How does FELA handle fault?

When you file this type of legal claim, you and your attorney must prove that the defendant’s negligence contributed to the injury. The claim may name the manufacturer of defective equipment, the railroad, or another railroad contractor or agent as the responsible party or parties. FELA uses the comparative negligence standard, which means you can sue even if you have partial fault in the incident. The court will reduce the damage amount by your fault percentage.

Some of the situations in which your employer may have FELA liability include:

  • Failure to schedule enough workers for a job
  • Failure to provide safe tools and equipment
  • Failure to train employees in safety procedures
  • Failure to develop and maintain an effective workplace safety plan

What damages are available?

In a successful FELA claim, you can receive financial compensation for costs associated with your work-related illness or injury. These include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and projected future lost wages
  • Emotional and mental suffering
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability, either total or partial

You must file a FELA claim within three years of the accident in which you experienced an injury or the diagnosis of a work-related injury or disease.