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The Federal Employers Liability Act | FELA

FELA: An Overview

In the late 1800s, railroad expansion was a major undertaking in the U.S.
Unfortunately for the many workers employed by the railroad companies, this was an extremely dangerous job.
To keep railroad workers protected, a law was put into place: the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA.
Under FELA, railroad workers and their families became entitled to sue the railroad companies for compensation
in the event that they were injured or killed on the job. Read on to learn more about the history of FELA,
your rights under this act, and how you can obtain the compensation you deserve.

Your Rights Under FELA

Under FELA, railroad workers are entitled to both a safe workplace and the right to sue in the event that employer negligence causes injury or death on the job. First, FELA requires railroad companies to meet certain standards of duty, including:

  • Providing a reasonably safe workplace
  • Exercising a reasonable level of care for employee safety
  • Providing employees with safe equipment, tools, and safety devices
  • Choosing appropriately safe methods to carry out work
  • Providing the proper level of help to ensure that work is carried out safely
  • Inspecting the workplace for hazards that would inhibit safety
  • Creating and enforcing rules and best practices for safety
  • Providing the necessary training for equipment, tools, and work techniques

In the event that an employee becomes injured or dies on the job, FELA allows that employee or his or her family to sue the employer for compensation based on comparative negligence. This means that the accusing party must be able to prove that an employer acted negligently, causing injury or death. FELA differs from workers compensation because compensation is not awarded automatically; rather, negligence must be proven in a court of law.

Obtaining Compensation

If you or a family member has been injured or killed on the job in the railroad industry, you may be entitled to compensation, including:

  • Lost Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Funeral Costs
  • Lost Benefits
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Emotional Damages
  • Disability Pay

Because FELA has a three-year statute of limitations, it is imperative to seek legal help immediately to ensure the compensation you deserve.