Railroad workers in Illinois should all understand the basics of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Passed over 100 years ago in 1908, the Act is designed to protect the rights of railroad workers who have been injured. Under FELA, there’s a structure set up to compensate railroad workers who have been hurt on the job. Almost every kind of injury is covered by this law.

How FELA works

FELA is not like some later no-fault compensation laws. When someone files a claim under FELA, he or she needs to be able to show what caused the problem that led to his or her injury. This may be the railroad company, another worker or a business that made faulty equipment. The standard for cases brought under FELA deals with safety. The conditions that precipitated an accident must be due to a workplace that wasn’t reasonably safe to work in.

Because of the way this law is structured, it had the effect of improving safety standards throughout the railroad industry. Under FELA, railroads need to provide their workers with adequate training, safety equipment, a hazard-free environment, and they must use reasonable work quotas. It’s not acceptable for railroads to give people so much work that they can’t ever catch up.

Under FELA, people can receive damages for a few different reasons. This includes pain, suffering and mental distress. Claimants may also be compensated for their medical treatment and current and future wage losses. It may be a good idea for someone to consult an experienced attorney before filing a FELA claim. A lawyer can help his or her clients get the best deal. He or she will understand how to navigate both the FELA mediation process and lawsuits.