Are Off-Property Injuries Covered By FELA?
Under certain circumstances, an employee can recover damages from the railroad even though the injury occurs away from company property. Common examples of covered off-site injuries can include:
- Trainmen switching at an industrial plant
- A train crew injured while deadheading either by rail, land or air
- Injuries on the premises of carrier-provided lodging
- Employees injured while en route to perform repair service at an outlying point (car men in wheel trucks, signalmen out to repair circuits, mechanics or electricians out to check engines)
Understanding The Duties Of A Carrier’s Agents
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) requires carriers to provide its employees with a reasonably safe place in which to perform their work.
This duty is extremely broad and is non-delegable. Regardless of where the injury occurs, the carrier is responsible if it occurs due to negligence of one of its employees or agents, or due to a violation of the Safety Acts.
From the examples listed above, agents of a carrier include the hotel or motel which the carrier pays to house its employees and the van company or taxicab company the carrier hires to transport its employees. If the hotel/motel is negligent in maintaining its property and an injury results, the carrier is responsible.
Likewise, if the van company or taxicab company is negligent in maintaining their vehicles, or if their driver is negligent in operating the vehicle and an injury occurs to a rail worker, the railroad is responsible.