Is There a Cap on Damages for FELA Claims?

There are no limits on the recovery of compensation in FELA claims. To seek damages, a railroad injury attorney may factor in current as well as future wages, and other non-economic losses to the railroad worker. Juries award compensation in FELA lawsuits in proportion to the injuries and the degree of negligence.

Factors That Affect the Value of Damages in FELA Claims

No two FELA cases are alike and the value of damages differs based on the particular facts of each case. Some of the common factors that may impact the extent of damages awarded to you in a FELA lawsuit are:

The Nature of Injuries

The nature and magnitude of injuries suffered by you, along with the time spent recovering from them, is a major consideration in the computation of compensation.

Disability and Disfigurement

Disability is the deterioration in your physical or mental faculties after the injuries as compared to your condition prior to the accident. Disfigurement is any kind of injury that causes scarring or change in your physical appearance.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Any degree of aggravation of a pre-existing condition entitles you to recover monetary damages. If an underlying condition like a chronic back-ache recurs due to the injuries suffered in a work-related accident, you have the right to recover damages from the new injuries at least.

If it is difficult for the doctors to differentiate between the extent and intensity of the two injuries, you can claim for your entire disability and pain.

The Extent of Future Suffering

If you suffered permanent, debilitating injuries in a railroad work-related accident, there is likely to be ongoing pain and suffering well into the future. The damages in such cases can be substantial, calculated based on the cost of long-drawn therapies and the resulting hardship.

Medical Treatment Costs

If you are an injured railroad employee, you have the right to recover the amount already spent for medical care and the present value of future medical care you are most likely to receive.

Loss of Present and Future Income

A permanent disability entitles an employee to claim and recover past and future wage losses. This implies the current cash value of the earnings you would have earned till the normal termination of your railroad career.

In case of partial disability, the entitlement is the current cash value of the difference between the estimated earnings in the future with the disability, and the earnings possible were it not for the injuries.

Calculating the of Value Pain and Suffering

It is not possible to quantify the monetary value of someone’s pain and suffering. Although the extent or intensity of an hour of the victim’s pain is an intangible commodity, monetary compensation for the injuries is the only recourse under our legal system.

A jury trial acquires significance when you are trying to ascertain the full value of a victim’s losses from their injuries. A sympathetic jury of your peers might award a much higher compensation for your claim than the railroad claims department’s initial offers.

Comparative Negligence under FELA

In a FELA lawsuit, the total compensation awarded by the court or jury is proportionately adjusted in accordance with the comparative negligence established from the evidence.

The jury in a FELA case might find that the employee involved in a railroad accident overlooked an equipment inspection advisory, while the railroad company failed in its duty to remove the faulty equipment from the worksite.

The jury then goes on to establish the proportion of fault while affixing culpability of both the plaintiff and the defendant. For example, if the jury was to determine the proportion of fault and assign 25 percent fault to the plaintiff; the court applies comparative negligence and adjusts the compensation to 75 percent of the amount awarded by the jury.

Wrongful Death Claim under FELA 

FELA law has provisions to award compensation to the survivors and beneficiaries of a railroad employee who is fatally injured in a work-related accident. Close relatives and beneficiaries like a spouse or children are eligible for such damages in a FELA wrongful death claim.

Insurance Settlements under FELA

Another method for an injured employee to recover damages is to file a railroad injury claim and negotiate a settlement amount with the railroad company or their insurance agents.

An experienced FELA attorney can investigate the claim and then demand full and fair compensation based on evidence of monetary losses, projections of future expenses, and views of medical experts.

The complainant and the railroad company can choose to resolve the claim through a settlement before the filing of a lawsuit, or any time before a jury verdict if the plaintiff has filed a lawsuit.

Contact a Qualified Railroad Accident Attorney for Your FELA Claim

The seasoned railroad accident attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn are accomplished in their understanding of the complex FELA law. We can work diligently to help our clients collect the evidence required to help prove their cases and recover full and fair compensation. Contact our competent FELA attorneys today by calling at 800-752-0042 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation, and find out the extent of damages you are eligible to recover.


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