Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) Holding Railroads Accountable for “the lives and limbs” lost in its Daily Operations Every day!
When you work on the railroad, you know that it’s not just a job; it’s a way of life. The camaraderie, the challenges, and the sense of purpose are all part of what makes this profession special. However, along with the rewards come risks, and when accidents happen, the consequences can be devastating. As a former worker myself and now attorney representing injured railroad workers in Texas, I want to share some essential considerations for fellow workers who find themselves in railroad accidents.
On This Page:
- Understanding FELA Coverage
- Filing in the Right Jurisdiction
- Timing Is Critical
- The Burden of Proof
- Be Prepared for Defenses
- The Wide Range of Injuries
- Support for Medical Evidence
- Calculating Damages
- Know Your Rights and Stay Informed About Settlements
- Seek Emotional and Legal Support
- Contact Texas FELA Attorney Hector L. Sandoval
Understanding FELA Coverage
Since 1908, FELA has provided protection to railroad workers injured or killed on the job. Today, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act is what it has become because of the several lives that were taken early when the railroad was not held as accountable for its negligent actions.
The propensity for work injuries to occur in a certain industry can be defined by the nature of the work operations, the equipment being used on daily basis and, ability to reduce the risk of injury to employees by implementing, enforcing and practicing job safety programs. With a history that parallels our great country’s existence, the railroad industry, no matter how much safety is put in place, continues to be one of the most dangerous work environments known to man. On the daily basis, railroads store, move and transport various chemicals and products that if not handled properly could cause serious injury and death to employees as well as to the general public. The railroads are required to inspect and maintain certain equipment intended to make a railroad employee’s job safer but, this doesn’t always occur. FELA protects injured railroad worker’s rights and is intended to be interpreted, in various circumstances, in favor of the injured worker but, following an injury-producing incident, the railroad immediately gets to work developing a strategy to defend the case and turn the focus of the blame to the injured employee.
It’s crucial to know that as a railroad worker, you’re covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) if you’re injured on the job. FELA is your lifeline when it comes to seeking compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of your employers. It’s not like traditional workers’ compensation, where you’re automatically covered. With FELA, you need to prove that the railroad company was negligent in some way, explained Texas Railroad Accident Attorney Hector L. Sandoval
Filing in the Right Jurisdiction
Navigating the legal aspects of our injuries can be daunting. FELA claims are usually filed in federal court, which means dealing with a different set of rules and procedures. Make sure you consult with us or any other attorney experienced in federal court practices to ensure you’re in the right jurisdiction.
Timing Is Critical
Time is of the essence when it comes to FELA claims. The statute of limitations typically gives you three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. Missing this deadline could mean forfeiting your right to compensation.
The Burden of Proof
One comforting aspect of FELA is that it places a lower burden of proof on you, the injured workers. We only need to show that the railroad’s negligence played any part, no matter how small, in causing your injury. It’s a more worker-friendly standard compared to traditional negligence claims.
Be Prepared for Defenses
Railroad companies may try to argue that you, the injured workers, were partially at fault for the accident. It’s called contributory negligence, and it’s a common defense. You need to be prepared to counter these claims.
The Wide Range of Injuries
In the railroad industry, injuries can come in many forms. Traumatic injuries, repetitive stress injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and occupational illnesses are all risks we face. Make sure to document your injuries and seek medical attention promptly.
Support for Medical Evidence
Medical evidence is crucial for our claims. Get expert medical opinions on the extent of your injuries and the need for ongoing treatment. This evidence will be vital in proving your case.
Don’t forget to consider all the damages you’ve suffered. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and future medical needs. Both economic and non-economic damages should be accounted for.
Know Your Rights and Stay Informed About Settlements
Be aware that railroad companies may offer settlements to avoid lengthy litigation. Consult your attorney to determine if a settlement is in your best interest. Understanding the appeals process is also important. Either party can appeal a judgment, so be prepared for the possibility of appeals in more complex cases.
Seek Emotional and Legal Support
Lastly, don’t underestimate the emotional toll that injuries can take on you and your families. Seek emotional support and counseling if needed, in addition to legal guidance.
As injured railroad workers, you have rights, and FELA is there to protect you and your families. You’re not alone in this journey. With the right legal support and a strong community of fellow workers, you can seek justice, compensation, and the support you need to get back on track. Your dedication to your job should be matched by our dedication to ensuring your rights are upheld when accidents happen.
Contact Texas FELA attorney Hector L. Sandoval
Texas FELA attorney Hector L. Sandoval has represented injured railroad workers in over half of the states in the country
The experience of representing hundreds of World War II and Korean War era retired railroad workers who were exposed to asbestos, silica sand, creosote, diesel exhaust, and other contaminants and carcinogens has not only shaped Texas FELA attorney Hector L. Sandoval’s practice but, it has also contributed significantly to how he treats every one of his clients. Mr. Sandoval’s focus is to tell that story of the injured worker and to make sure that people are listening so that the risk that someone will have a similar injury in the future will be reduced.
If you’ve been injured on the job working for the railroad, remember that the railroad is already preparing the case you should too! Call Houston Work Injury Attorney Hector L. Sandoval and get the representation that you deserve! Sandoval Law Firm, PLLC helps injured railroad workers. Call (346) 347-7777 for a free and informative consultation!