The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was enacted in 1908 to protect railroad workers injured on the job. This act is based on the power of the federal government over interstate commerce, as granted in the commerce clause of the Constitution. Although FELA provides similar benefits for railroad workers as workers compensation insurance provides in other industries, FELA benefits are not automatic.
If you are a Chicago railroad worker who has been injured on the job, you may need an experienced railroad injury attorney to help you recover compensation. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago is a top-rated injury firm with a reputation for success. Our experienced injury lawyers have recovered substantial sums for our clients in a wide range of injury cases, including FELA claims. Call us for a free consultation with one of our Chicago railroad injury attorneys after a serious railroad worker accident.
How Do FELA Claims Work?
Unlike workers compensation insurance, FELA is a fault-based system. To receive benefits, an injured railroad worker must prove that the injury was caused, wholly or in part, by faulty equipment or negligence on the part of a railroad employee or an agent or contractor. The injured railroad worker may sue for damages in either state or federal court, as long as he or she is not found to be 100% at fault for the accident and injuries.
FELA awards are generally much higher than those received in workers compensation claims. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, a jury determines the percentage of negligence for each party. This establishes the percentage of the award received by the injured worker. In addition to bodily injuries sustained while working for the railroad, FELA covers asbestos exposure, repetitive stress, and cumulative trauma injuries.
What Compensation Does FELA Provide?
FELA is the exclusive remedy for most injured railroad workers. In a FELA claim after a railroad workplace injury, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
Railroad Accident Statistics
The enactment of FELA has held railroad carriers accountable for injuries caused to workers and forced them to raise safety standards. Nevertheless, the railroad industry is not without risks for railroad workers. The Federal Railroad Administration reports that in 2017, there were:
- 11,699 total accidents and incidents
- 831 fatalities
- 1,696 train accidents
- 12 employee fatalities
- 4,177 nonfatal employee injuries
Due to the sheer size and weight of the equipment, railroad accidents can have catastrophic consequences. When accidents occur, railroad workers may suffer serious injuries or death.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a FELA Claim in Chicago?
Railroads have a duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment. FELA provides a remedy for railroad workers injured on the job through the negligence of their employers. To recover compensation in a FELA claim, the injured worker must prove negligence of the railroad caused the worker’s injuries. Establishing liability in a FELA claim can be complex legal matter.
Our Chicago injury attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have the experience to effectively pursue the compensation you are entitled to receive for serious railroad workplace injuries. We have recovered what was the largest verdict in Illinois history for a personal injury claim. Our legal team has a high success rate with our cases. Schedule a consultation to find out how our Chicago railroad injury lawyers can help you pursue maximum compensation in a FELA claim.