What you need to know about injuries as part of a railroad workers union
Truck Accident - March 8, 2023
The railway industry is governed by different workers’ compensation policies than private industries, so it’s important that you know what to do after a workplace injury. Filing the appropriate claim can ensure that you receive the compensation and benefits to which you’re entitled.
Types of railroad injuries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the risk of catastrophic injury or death for railway workers is proportionally higher than in many other skilled trade industries.
The primary factors for railway workplace injuries can be reduced but not eliminated due to the nature of the industry. Heavy equipment, high speeds, and toxic exposure all contribute to over 3,200 workplace injuries and 11 workplace deaths in 2021.
Although sudden and catastrophic injuries are the most- recognized type of railway injury, workers may also experience:
- Repetitive stress or motion injuries
- Chronic back pain or herniated discs
- Profound hearing loss
- Psychological distress from witnessing accidents or mortal injuries
If you’re injured or become ill in the course of your job as a railway employee, you may file a claim for medical care through FELA.
FELA provides protection for railway workers
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a workers’ compensation statute that protects railroad employees including train crew members, carpenters, and clerical staff. FELA provides coverage in lieu of state-specific workers’ compensation laws. Although FELA and state workers’ comp laws share similar intent, their coverage, eligibility requirements, and other stipulations are quite different.
FELA is a liability-based compensation program that doesn’t limit the amount of compensation an employee can receive through a lawsuit. Through a FELA claim, an employee has a lower standard for proving that their injury or illness was caused by their employer’s negligence.
Things to know when filing a FELA claim
To receive compensation, the railway employee must prove that the company’s negligence caused their injury or illness. Part of this will be proving that your employer didn’t provide a “reasonably safe” working environment. However, suppose the railroad is found to have broken safety rules, regulations, or statutes. In that case, they are liable for the employee’s illness or injury, and the employee doesn’t need to prove negligence.
An injured worker has a three-year statute of limitations or deadline to file their lawsuit. The clock starts ticking the day they were injured or when they learned that their illness or injury was caused by their work.
Although you have three years to file your lawsuit, don’t wait to file. Engaging a Chicago railway injury lawyer with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates soon after your accident can help you in more ways than you might realize. Your lawyer will gather the information and evidence needed to build strong, supported claims in your lawsuit by thoroughly investigating your accident.
Your lawyer might also be able to help you receive medical treatment with no out-of-pocket costs to you through a medical lien. A medical lien is when a doctor provides treatment with the promise or guarantee that they will be paid from your lawsuit settlement or award. Most doctors only agree to medical liens if a reputable attorney is handling the case.
Hire a lawyer to protect your rights
Railroad companies’ large legal departments and insurance companies focus on evading responsibility by minimizing injury claims or denying them altogether. These hurdles make it difficult for railway workers who are acting alone to receive the compensation they deserve after a workplace injury.
After an accident, you’ll likely be approached by a representative from the railway or their insurance company who asks questions regarding what you claim happened or about your injuries. They might even ask you to sign a release of your medical records or a document that releases them of liability.
You aren’t required to say anything to them, sign any releases, or give any written statement about the accident. Instead, you should refer them to your Chicago railroad injury attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.
Do you need help with a railway employee worker’s compensation claim?
You’ve worked hard and were injured due to your employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment – you shouldn’t continue to suffer. Our legal team has the experience and knowledge of FELA claims necessary to build a strong case on your behalf and to collect the maximum compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call (800) 985-1819.