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Injured railroad workers may face a hard path to compensation

On Behalf of | May 26, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

People who work for railroad companies across the nation have just as much of a right to a safe workplace as other workers. When a railroad employee suffers an injury at work, they aren’t covered under workers’ compensation for their medical care and other damages. Instead, they have to make a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act, which was passed in 1908.

Making a FELA claim is a lot different than making a claim under the workers’ compensation system. For example, workers’ compensation claims don’t require the worker to prove that the employer was negligent. A railway worker who is making a FELA claim will have to prove that the company’s negligence contributed to the accident that caused the injury.

Duties of railroad companies to employees

There are several duties that railroad companies owe to the employees. These include providing them with equipment, tools and a safe work environment. They should also provide them with training and supervision, including the enforcement of safety regulations and protocol needed to do their job duties. They should also provide them with assistance when needed.

The employees of the railroad have a duty to act in a safe manner. They can’t behave recklessly and think that the railroad company is going to hold the liability for what happens. The amount of liability the worker had in the accident can directly impact the damages they receive for the injury.

Important points about claims

Railroad companies can use the concept of comparative negligence to reduce the damages they have to pay. Under this concept, the percentage of fault the worker holds in an accident directly reduces the damages they’ll receive. This means that if the injured worker is found to be 25% at fault, the damages they receive will be reduced by that percentage so they’d receive 75% of the damages they suffered.

Under FELA, injured railroad workers can claim damages for the medical care they’ve already received and what they expect to receive in the future. They can also receive compensation for the wages they aren’t able to earn, past and future, because of the injury. Damages for mental distress, as well as pain and suffering are also possible.

Because these cases are rather difficult to work through, injured parties who need to file a claim under FELA should work with an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law.