In 1908, the United States Congress enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act. The goal was to lessen the atrocious number of fatalities and injuries that were taking place within the railroad industry. FELA was intended to protect railway employees, force rail companies to implement safety measures to protect their workers, and compensate workers who were injured on the job. Railroad employees are still under the protection of this act today because they still deserve just financial compensation for any injuries or damages resulting from their employer’s negligence.
How can FELA help me if I am injured in my job as a railway worker?
At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia FELA attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience representing injured railway workers in federal and state courts. We have won multiple FELA cases against major railroads. If you were injured due to employer negligence, please call us today to schedule your free consultation.
Why is FELA Important?
Railway employees routinely work in an environment that is far more dangerous than most other professions. Given that the risk of deaths and injuries are well above average in these conditions, governments and employers need to uphold common-sense safety practices and standards. This is accomplished via the Federal Employers Liability Act.
In the late 1800s, railroad traffic in the United States increased considerably. Sadly, the number of railway injuries and fatalities increased right along with it. FELA developed federal regulations for the express purpose of protecting injured, sick, and even dead workers who were dumped by the tracks with no means of recovering their damages. Before its creation, railroaders quite simply had no countermeasures against employer negligence.
If you were injured while working for a rail company, it is important that you understand your rights according to FELA. keep in mind that FELA covers all rail company employees, including conductors, engineers, electricians, signalmen, maintenance of way, dispatchers, brakemen, and others.
Almost all rail companies are required to abide by FELA standards. If a railroad conducts interstate commerce, FELA applies. All major Class I, II, and III railways are covered as are any short-line railroads whose tracks connect to the tracks of railroads that participate in interstate commerce.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered under FELA?
Your FELA coverage can be set in motion by injuries such as:
Personal Injury Caused by Employer Negligence
Any significant injury that takes place while you are on the job is protected under FELA. Damages such as loss of mobility, pain and suffering, and medical bills will be considered in your final claim.
Cumulative Trauma/Repetitive Trauma
These injuries are somewhat unique in that they do not happen in one particular traumatic event. Rather, these injuries happen over time as a result of the type of work being performed. These injuries take years to fully develop, and the railway industry is fully aware of the work practices, equipment, and conditions that cause them. Unfortunately, instead of making changes to their procedures, updating their equipment, or putting protections, they chose to cut corners in order to save money and leave their employees to pay the price.
Unwitting exposure to toxic substances is covered explicitly under FELA. Substances such as asbestos, benzene, and diesel exhaust can cause serious and irreversible medical conditions like mesothelioma and leukemia.
These types of illnesses are protected under FELA provided that the exposure can be categorically linked to your employment with the railroad.
Do You Understand Your Rights?
No matter what type of illness or injury you sustained, experience is essential when dealing with a FELA claim. As soon as you report your work-related injury, the rail company will assign an entire faction of attorneys and claims people whose job it is to work against you and your claim every step of the way. They are highly skilled, and well-trained, and will stop at nothing to minimize or deny any recovery sought by an injured railroader.
If you sustained an injury during the course and scope of your employment as a railway worker, the experienced Virginia FELA attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out the simple contact form on our website.