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The Federal Employers Liability Act

Federal employers liability act FELA is shown on the photo using the text

Workers injured on the job often face retaliation. Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than the Railroad Industry.

Fortunately, railroad workers are subject to their own law that covers their claims when they are injured on the job. This law, the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, provides certain protections to railroad employees who seek compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses.

What is FELA?

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is federal law that governs the rights of railroad workers who are injured, sickened, or killed in the course of their employment. The law is a combination of traditional negligence law (personal injury) and workers’ compensation.

  • Under negligence law, an injured party generally must prove that the entity causing their injury was at least 50 % responsible for causing their injury and that the injury was caused by the negligence of that party.
  • Under workers compensation law, a worker does not have to prove fault to collect benefits. All that needs to be proven is that the worker was injured while in the scope of their employment.

While injured workers are typically barred from suing their employers due to state workers’ compensation laws, FELA exempts railroad employees from workers’ compensation and allows them and their families to bring claims against the railroad for damages, including damages that are not available in workers’ compensation cases. However, the law requires proof that the railroad failed to provide reasonably safe working conditions or was negligent in any way. A finding of 1% negligence on behalf of an employer allows a railroad worker to collect.

FELA cases offer injured workers and their families an opportunity to secure more compensation than what is traditionally available through workers’ compensation. However, there are requirements to prove an employer’s negligence and other unique rules and procedures to follow. As such, these cases demand the attention of attorneys experienced in handling FELA claims.

Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is an award-winning personal injury and workers’ compensation practice with extensive experience handling all types of compensation cases, including FELA claims. If you have questions about an injury on the job or a FELA claim please call (732) 440-3089 to speak with Partner Richard Marcolus. Rich has been handling these types of claims for 37 years at Levinson Axelrod. Consultations are free and you can meet with Rich at any one of our 10 office locations.

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