Railroad Accident Lawyers
Holding Employers Accountable and Securing Compensation for Injured Railroad Workers
Railroad employees work hard and play an important role in the transportation of freight and passengers in the United States. Unfortunately, while jobs in the railroad industry are safer than they used to be, the nature of the job is inherently dangerous. Whether it be defective equipment, employer negligence, or exposure to hazardous chemicals, there are multiple conditions railroad workers face that can result in severe or fatal injuries. What's even worse is that when a worker is hurt or killed on the job, recovering damages is often a complicated process.
The North Carolina and South Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson are passionate about fighting for injured railroad workers who need help paying for medical expenses or other damages after a workplace injury. With millions recovered on behalf of injured workers, you and your family can rest assured that your claim will be carefully investigated and that you receive the compensation you deserve.*
What is FELA?
Long before workers' compensation laws came into existence in our country, Congress worked to protect injured railroad workers' rights by passing the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA). FELA is a federal law enacted in 1908 to protect railroad workers who were "subjected to a peril of life and limb as great as that of a soldier in time of war." FELA ensures railroad employees a safe working environment and gives them the right to recover compensation if injured in a railroad-related accident. Under FELA, railroad workers can hold their employers liable for:
What Injuries Does FELA Cover?
Railroad workers are exposed to the risk of bodily injury and death regularly. These injuries can be excruciating, and the worker may not make a full recovery. Medical bills for emergency treatment and care are a financial burden, especially when the employee is forced out of work to recover. The four basic types of injuries that are covered under FELA regulations are:
What Compensation Can I Receive After Sustaining a Railroad Injury?
If you were injured while working at a railroad, you are entitled to compensation if your employer's negligence contributed to or caused your injury. One of the most crucial aspects of FELA is that it places no limits on the amount of money a railroad employee can recover in a lawsuit. FELA claims may include damages for:
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury while working for a railroad company, it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident or injury occurs. Without an experienced advocate on your side, there's no guarantee that you will successfully recover enough compensation to cover medical bills or any other expenses you incurred.
How Do I Prove the Railroad Company Caused My Injuries?
Unlike "no-fault" workers' compensations laws, the amount of fault that needs to be shown in FELA claims is less than the degree of responsibility that needs to be established in an ordinary workers' comp claim. A person filing a FELA claim only needs to show that the railroad company was somehow negligent and played some role in an accident causing injuries. This is also known as a "featherweight" burden of proof, which gives an advantage to the victims seeking a legal remedy for damages. Often, recoveries through FELA involve the following types of negligence:
Should I Settle My FELA Claim with a Railroad Claim Agent?
A railroad claim agent that attempts to settle your claim, or take your statement, while acting as your advisor is a conflict of interest situation. Their only job is to save the railroad company money. They're professionally trained to ask questions that coerce the worker into making incriminating statements that will protect the company from liability. Dealing directly with a railroad claim agent places the employee at the mercy of someone looking to pay out as little as possible and quickly settle the injury claim.
Before making any statements, it's always best to consult with an experienced railroad injury lawyer who can advise you on protecting your long-term interests.
Retaliation After Filing a FELA Claim
Reporting illegal or dangerous practices on the job is the right thing to do. While it would be nice to think such conscientious behavior would be applauded, railroad employees often face harassment, threats, and retaliation for filing a workplace injury claim under FELA. The result can be devastating, not just to the employees themselves but also to the families they support.
To discourage retaliation among employers, Congress passed the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) in 2008, which protects railroad workers who seek medical treatment and those engaged in protected activities from interference. If you are retaliated against or terminated for any of the following activities, you may be entitled to backpay, up to $250,000 in punitive damages, reinstatement, special damages, lawyer fees, litigation costs, and expert fees:
If you believe your company has retaliated against you for reporting a violation or filing a FELA claim, don't hesitate to contact a lawyer, as you only have 180 days to file a FRSA claim.
Experienced FELA Attorneys for Injured Railroad Workers
FELA is very complex, and filing a claim is not a simple task. Victims face delays and obstacles as their employer seeks to minimize their claim or deny it completely. This is why you should consult with an experienced railroad injury attorney. Contact Grimes Teich Anderson today and find out how we can help you. To schedule a free consultation with a railroad injury lawyer, call us at 800-533-6845 or complete our contact form online today.