Railroad workers who have been injured in a railroad accident may be entitled to benefits under the Federal Employers Liability Act of 1908 (FELA).FELA Quick Facts.►No-fault workers' compensation is not available for injured railroad workers.
If injured on the job, a railroad worker's sole remedy is the Federal Employers Liability Act of 1908 (FELA).►FELA allows a railroad worker injured on the job to sue to recover damages for lost earning, both past and future; out-of-pocket medical expenses; any reduction in ability to earn wages because of the injury; pain and suffering.►Unlike workers compensation, FELA requires proof that the railroad injury was caused in some way by the negligence of the railroad, its workers, contractors or agents.
►FELA uses the doctrine of comparative negligence. This doctrine allows workers who are partially at fault for their own injuries from a railroad accident to recover some portion of the damages. For example, if a jury determined that the worker was 50% negligent and the damages $200,000, the worker would get half of the damages or $100,000. (under the doctrine of contributory negligence a plaintiff who is even 1% negligent would get nothing!).►FELA claims may be pursued in State or Federal court and a jury trial is provided to the plaintiff.
It is up to the jury to determine if there was negligence on the part of the railroad, co-workers or other railroad personnel; if the plaintiff was negligent and contributed to the accident and resultant railroad injury, and if so to what degree; the amount of damages suffered by the railroad worker as a result of the railroad accident.►The vast majority of FELA railroad injury cases settle without a trial. However, the average length of time from the filing of the FELA suit (not the claim) is 22.5 months. Railroads know this so they generally do not get serious about settling FELA lawsuits until the trial date draws near.►Plaintiffs win 75% of the FELA railroad injury cases that go to trial.
The mean average FELA award for railroad injury lawsuits resolved by a jury verdict is about $500,000 while the median is $180,000. (This skewness suggests that there are a few very large awards that distort the mean average upwards.) (Source:Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research).
►The statute of limitations for a FELA railroad injury case is three years from the date of the injury. For certain types of occupational diseases where uncertainly exists as to the date of injury, the clock may start ticking from the time the disease is discovered.This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.
Readers whether attorneys or not should not act upon this information without seeking professional advice or doing independent legal research. The author disclaims any liability whatsoever for any consequences that may flow from any material published here..Walker
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By: Wayne Walker