Workers’ Compensation And FELA Differences
State workers’ compensation laws do not apply to the rail industry. When the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was created, such laws did not exist. Since the federal government acted to protect rail workers with FELA, that law preempts state workers’ compensation laws from applying to rail workers.
If you have questions about FELA or the benefits you may be entitled to receive, contact Kujawski & Associates LLC, today.
Based upon a 1989 study of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the compensation for pain, suffering, disability and disfigurement experienced by an employee who suffers the amputation of an arm ranges from $8,311 in Wyoming to a maximum of $209,352 in Connecticut under state workers’ compensation laws.
There are no such limits that apply to FELA. FELA provides railroad workers and their families extremely valuable protection and compensation. Should an injury occur, take steps to protect you and your family’s rights immediately. The railroad will begin taking steps to protect its rights without delay, often while the injured employee is still hospitalized and receiving medical treatment.
Determining Negligence Under FELA
FELA enables an employee to recover damages for an injury that is caused by the railroad’s negligence. The burden is on the employee to prove that the company was at fault. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that if the railroad’s negligence, however slight, contributed to the employee’s injury or death, the railroad is liable for the resulting damages.
If the employee is partially at fault for his own injury, the total amount of damages awarded can be reduced. For example, if a jury finds that an injured worker’s damages total $100,000, but it also determines that he was one-third to blame for his injury, the employee would collect $66,666, or 66 percent of his damages.
It is important to remember than an employee’s contributory negligence cannot totally defeat his claim under the law unless it is the sole cause of the injuries.