Passed into law in 1908, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides important legal protections and a path to financial compensation to railroad workers who were injured while on the job. FELA is a highly complex federal law. If you or your family member was hurt while working as a railroad employee, it is imperative that you seek immediate assistance from an experienced San Francisco railroad injury attorney.
Understanding the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)
Notably, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) covers a broad range of railroad workers. The law is not merely limited to employees who work on the train itself. FELA also provides legal coverage to all related employees, including general maintenance workers, mechanics, track inspectors, and many others. In addition, as the 1970s Supreme Court case of Kelly v. Southern Pacific Co makes clear, railroad companies cannot shield themselves from liability by relying on contractors or other third-party companies to furnish employees. These types of workers are typically still covered by the law.
Railroad worker injury claims are not like your ordinary California workers’ compensation claims. These cases are based on the negligence standard. To recover financial compensation under this act, railroad workers must be able to prove that their employer or a related company was negligent, and that their negligence contributed to the accident.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act allows injured workers to seek compensation for the full value of their damages. This is another important difference between FELA claims and standard workers’ compensation cases. Workers are not merely limited to seeking compensation for medical benefits and a portion of their lost wages. Injured railroad workers can also seek compensation for the full value of their noneconomic losses, including for any pain and suffering.
Injured railroad workers have exactly three years to bring a claim under FELA. This is a strict statute of limitations. If you fail to initiate your claim before the deadline expires, your case will simply be dismissed as a matter of federal law. While three years may seem like plenty of time, there is absolutely no reason to wait to take action.
Remember, injured railroad employees must prove negligence in order to recover compensation from their employer or another associated company. These cases require immediate, comprehensive investigation by a qualified San Francisco railroad accident lawyer. You should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury.
Were You Injured in a Railroad Accident in the Bay Area?
If you or your family member was injured while working as a railroad employee, please do not hesitate to call our law firm at 415-835-6777 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation. With an office in San Francisco, we represent railroad workers throughout Northern California.