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What is FELA?

Houston Railroad Accident Lawyer Explains FELA

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a federal law that passed in 1908 and is designed to provide railroad workers with benefits when they suffer job-related injuries. Family members of those who died in railroad accidents may also seek compensation through FELA claims.

Although FELA is similar in intent to Workers’ Compensation, it is administered differently, provides varying benefits and has separate eligibility requirements. If you were injured in a railroad accident caused by faulty equipment, the negligence of the railroad company or the recklessness of another employee, Houston FELA attorney Tony Malley may be able to help you pursue fair financial benefits for your needs.

Workers Covered by FELA

FELA covers nearly every railroad employee, including those who work for commuter, interstate passenger and freight carriers, regardless of whether they perform their duties on or around a train or railyard. Severe injuries, however, are more common among occupations engaged directly with the trains and railways, including:

  • Mechanics
  • Signalmen
  • Conductors
  • Engineers
  • Flagmen
  • Brakemen
  • Switchmen
  • Maintenance-of-way workers
  • Yardmasters
  • Welders

FELA established that railroad companies have an obligation to provide their employees with reasonably safe workplaces, which includes warning employees of foreseeable hazards, supplying necessary safety equipment, installing safety protocols, maintaining safe conditions, and assigning adequate training and supervision.

Recovering FELA Benefits

Unlike Workers’ Compensation claims, FELA requires that the injured railroad worker or family of a worker killed in railroad accident take action to pursue benefits through the state or federal court system. In order to establish a viable FELA claim, the injured party must prove that the injuries occurred in the scope of his or her job and that defective equipment, railroad negligence or co-worker negligence were at least partially responsible for the incident that resulted in injuries.

FELA claims can be especially complex; negligence is not always clear, and railroad companies often fight benefits claims in an attempt to pay less than what railroad accident victims actually need to cope with expenses related to their injuries. While working with a lawyer to seek FELA benefits is not required, the National Research Council found that injured railroad workers who pursued FELA claims with the help of an attorney received substantially greater financial compensation than those who sought benefits alone.

To learn more, please see Causes of Railroad Accidents.

If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a work-related railroad accident, please contact the Malley Law Firm for your free case consultation. FELA claims attorney Tony Malley welcomes clients from the Houston and Beaumont, Texas, areas and nationwide.

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