FELA protections allow railroad workers who are injured due to unsafe working conditions, accidents, or negligence on the part of their employers to claim compensation for damages and pain and suffering caused by these hazards in the workplace.
Railroad employees enjoy added legal protections under the provisions of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
At Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, we have substantial experience as railroad accident attorneys. We provide solid representation for railroad workers injured in the course of their duties anywhere in the Greater Houston area, the state of Texas, and Nationwide. Our high-caliber legal team has over 100 years of combined experience handling complex FELA railroad cases, and our firm has been serving injury victims and families in Texas since 1970.
During the late 1890s and early 1900s, railroad use became more prevalent. The railroad industry was already a very dangerous enterprise for the employees, and railroad workers were frequently injured on the job. Not surprisingly, the number of railroad accidents and injuries grew as railroad use increased. Because of this, Congress saw the need for new legislation that would protect these workers, and it passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in 1908.
For workers who have suffered injuries due to these and similar incidents, including rail yard accidents, we can provide the legal representation necessary to obtain fair compensation rights and remedies from employers under the provisions of FELA protection.
Enlisting the help of our nonunion legal team can help railway railroad employees hold employers accountable for unsafe working conditions.
We’re on your side. Contact us at(281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
What Rights Does FELA Protect For Railroad Workers?
Under FELA, railroad employees have a legal right to a safe work environment, and railroad companies have a duty to provide this right. To fulfill this legal duty, railroads must provide adequate safety gear and equipment, as well as properly maintained tools for performing the job. If the railroad fails to do any of the above, they may be liable for injuries that occur as a result.
Injured railroad workers also have a right to sue their employer if negligence contributed to their injuries. This is different from the normal process of obtaining benefits through workers’ compensation for on-the-job injuries. Furthermore, the compensation available under a FELA claim is likely to be significantly greater than would be possible under workers’ comp.
FELA claim benefits may provide compensation for:
- Lost wages—current and future earnings;
- Medical expenses—current and future;
- Disfigurement; and
- Emotional pain and suffering.
Steps To Take If You Are Injured At Work
If you are a railroad worker who has been injured on the job, the steps you take immediately following the injury can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case. To protect your health and improve your chances of obtaining compensation by filing a FELA claim, it is in your best interest to:
- Report the injury immediately;
- Make a note of any obvious signs of negligence, including rule violations, defective equipment, or other hazards;
- Photograph visible injuries and anything that may have contributed to the accident;
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information;
- Seek immediate medical attention;
- Follow all medical instructions exactly, including reporting for scheduled visits and taking prescribed medications;
- Keep copies of all medical bills and injury reports;
- Contact an experienced FELA attorney;
- Never give a statement without first having consulted with your FELA attorney; and
- Apply for all available benefits.
If you’ve been injured in a railroad accident, the experienced railroad accident attorneys at Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers can help. Contact us today at(281) 645-5000 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Why Work with a Non-Union FELA Lawyer?
When injured you will be contacted by a railroad claim agent. This claim agent will attempt to take a statement, direct you to company doctors, and dissuade you from seeking counsel with a qualified FELA lawyer. At this time, a union-designated attorney might also contact you to facilitate a settlement with the claim agent.
It is imperative, to know your rights and consult a qualified, experienced non-union FELA attorney who represents you, not the union and not the railroad company. Due to the legal complexities involved and the serious injuries typically sustained, you want to be confident that the railroad accident lawyer you hire is committed to a successful outcome for you.
After a consultation with a non-union FELA lawyer from Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, our personal commitment and aggressive representation will be evident.
The FELA lawyers with Burwell Nebout have a long and successful history of supporting and representing union workers in job-related injury claims.
We’re on your side. Contact us at(281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our League City railroad accident attorneys.
Who Are the Plaintiffs in FELA Cases?
FELA offers injured railroad workers the possibility of receiving much more than they could obtain from workers’ compensation. Under FELA, injured railroad workers are entitled to hire FELA attorneys and take their employers to court for monetary compensation for their injuries, and this is something that they are denied under workers’ compensation.
In some cases, injured railroad workers succumbed to their injuries. This does not mean that the possibility of a FELA lawsuit dies along with the worker. The injured worker’s survivors are also entitled to hire a railroad injury attorney and initiate a FELA lawsuit.
Who Are the Defendants?
FELA railroad accident lawyers can file FELA railroad accident lawsuits against anyone who may be liable for a person’s injuries in a railroad accident. This means that the defendant does not necessarily have to be the employer. If the railroad, the manufacturer of a part that malfunctioned, or another railroad worker can be proven to be responsible for the accident in any way, then FELA attorneys may name them as defendants in a lawsuit.
Train Derailment Injuries
Train derailments have the potential to be catastrophic for the public at large but also for any railroad employees working in the area. Train derailment injuries may vary from traumatic bodily injury due to a railroad crash all the way to lethal poisoning due to a toxic spill in the accident. The impact of a FELA railroad accident on a railroad worker can be significant and life-altering.
Railroad work injuries sustained in a train derailment may qualify for full compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act if the FELA claim lawyer proves negligence in the train derailment by the railroad employer. FELA railroad injury accident lawyers have special knowledge of the railroad industry and the laws that apply to successfully navigate a FELA claim through the legal complexities of the applicable federal law.
We’re on your side. Contact us at(281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our railroad accident attorneys.
Accident Injury in Rail Yard
Trains can weigh up to 200 tons, so people who work in rail yards are vulnerable to injury. The rail yard has become a safer place to be as time has passed, but more injuries occur in rail yards than other American industries.
Workers have sustained burns, lacerations, fractured or broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. Some people have even lost their lives. After rail yard workers experience these types of injuries, they benefit greatly from the expertise of a FELA attorney. The job of a FELA injury lawyer is to ensure that you receive full compensation in a case that requires specific knowledge of the railroad industry.
Working in a rail yard can mean that you have performed very strenuous activities and completed repetitive tasks. These types of railroad work injuries are more difficult for FELA lawyers to litigate, but they will work hard for you from the beginning until the end to obtain the monetary compensation that you deserve.
Why Rail Yard Injuries Happen
Injuries often occur in rail yards just because they are dangerous environments. Workers have been crushed by switches and levers and have been hurt while loading and unloading heavy machinery.
In addition, the rail yard is a place where workers must contend with many flammable substances, and this puts them at a high risk of being burned by fuel supplies. They are also in danger of being caught in an explosion because it is easy for these substances to be spilled as they are being transported.
The dangers do not end there. Locomotives often transport poisonous gases and toxic chemicals, and workers have been injured while working with these materials. However, most injuries occur when equipment fails, after a train derailment or a collision with another locomotive.
Workers are required to spend time on active tracks, and although people in the control towers are aware that workers are on these tracks, accidents still happen because of miscommunication. Sometimes, operators are entirely unaware that workers may be in a dangerous location because they cannot see them.
Making Rail Yards Safer
Employers have the obligation to ensure that their rail yards are as safe as they can possibly be for their workers. For example, they can ensure that their employees are only working on inactive tracks. If maintenance must be performed on active tracks, employers must ensure that there is proper communication among the controller, the operator, and the yard.
Since rail yard work is so strenuous, employers must know that their workers are physically able to perform this type of work. Employees who are fatigued cannot be as attentive in their duties as they need to be, and this has been the cause of accidents in the past.
Our qualified railroad accident attorneys from Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers will work diligently and aggressively to pursue full compensation in any type of railroad yard accident claim by building a strong case to ensure recovery of full compensation for your injuries.
We’re on your side. Contact us or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Obtaining Monetary Compensation as a Railroad Worker
If you have been injured in a locomotive accident as a railroad worker, you are entitled to take the responsible parties to court by hiring a railroad accident lawyer. Under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), your railroad worker injury attorney will have the opportunity to demonstrate that other railroad employees or the owners of the railroad failed to perform an act that would ensure the safety of the crew. It may also be the case that someone did something that caused the accident to occur, and your railroad accident lawyer can work to prove this claim as well.
Damages for Injured Workers
In the event that injured railroad workers can prove that the defendants were negligent and, therefore, responsible for the workers’ injuries, they will be awarded a sum of money for their injuries. The amount may include monetary compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Wages that were lost in the past or will be lost in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Damages for the Injured Railroad Worker’s Family
If the lawsuit is brought by the railroad worker’s family, the survivors can receive the same type of award as was described above. However, FELA attorneys have also been known to ask for compensation for the contributions that deceased railroad workers would have made to their families. This includes the salary these workers would have earned and the love and support that they would have given to their children had they lived.
The Benefit of Hiring a Railroad Injury Attorney
If you were a victim in a railroad accident or had a loved one die as a railroad worker, it is imperative that you contact a railroad injury attorney rather than a personal injury lawyer. FELA railroad accident attorneys are extremely knowledgeable in the railroad industry and the laws that govern it. When FELA attorneys arrive in court, they are prepared to demonstrate that the defendants were negligent in some way for the accident and that the railroad accident is what caused the railroad worker’s injuries.
Sometimes, people refrain from hiring FELA lawyers because they are wary of filing a lawsuit against their employer and going to court. If this is the case for you, contact a railroad injury attorney anyway. In some cases, FELA attorneys can avoid taking the matter to court. Instead, they negotiate with the other side outside of the courtroom to obtain a settlement. Defendants in these cases can be very amenable to this idea because they prefer not to have personal matters become public.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is FELA Different from Workers’ Compensation?
While workers’ compensation is governed by and processed under state law, FELA claims are governed by and processed under federal law. Injured railroad workers can bring a lawsuit against their employer and other at-fault parties in state or federal court, and they have a right to a trial by jury. Workers’ comp, on the other hand, is processed through the railroad company’s insurer, and the employee usually waives their right to a lawsuit by accepting these “no-fault” benefits.
What is FELA litigation?
FELA litigation occurs when an injured railroad worker must file a lawsuit against their employer to recover damages. Railroad injuries are often quite severe, and bringing a lawsuit against a major corporation like a railroad company can be extremely intimidating. They generally have extensive resources with which to fight your claim, so having an experienced FELA litigation attorney by your side is critical to a favorable outcome.
How Do I Make a FELA Claim?
Where conventional workers’ compensation claims are governed by and processed under state law, FELA claims are governed by and processed under federal law. To make a FELA claim, the most important initial steps are to file an accident report and hire an experienced FELA lawyer.
To make a successful FELA claim, you must be able to show that the railroad company’s actions were at least partially negligent. That being said, doing so is typically easier than with traditional injury claims because the company’s negligence only had to play some role in the injury, not the primary role. In fact, this lesser requirement is often referred to as a “featherweight” burden of proof.
Following the accident report, there will be an investigation into the accident to determine if negligence was a factor. If it was, you will likely be offered a settlement, at which point your attorney will determine if the settlement offer is reasonable. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your railroad accident attorney may need to fight for full compensation at trial.
What Are The Time Limits For Making a FELA Claim?
You must file a lawsuit against the negligent party within three years from the time of injury. Failure to do so will likely result in a dismissal of your case. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when the injury isn’t immediately attributed to the accident, or if the injury isn’t detected for a period of time. But no matter the circumstances, time is of the essence; the longer you wait to file a claim, the more difficult it will be to preserve memories and gather important evidence.
Contact a FELA Accident Lawyer at Burwell Nebout Today
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, the skilled legal team at Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers can help. We have protected the rights of countless injured workers throughout Texas, including those involving railroad company negligence. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, and emotional pain and suffering if you’ve been injured in a railroad accident. Don’t attempt to navigate this complex process without the help of an experienced FELA lawyer by your side. Contact Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers today at (281) 645-5000 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.