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The FELA and your rights as an injured railroad worker

Recently, a federal judge sent a case involving a lawsuit against a railroad company back to state court. The judge originally cited insufficient facts and stated that the claimant lacked a clear basis for legal action under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). However, after allowing the claimant to amend his complaint, the judge sent the case back to state court.

A railroad worker filed the lawsuit after he suffered injuries from an accident involving a semi-trailer in a rail yard. He claims that he suffered serious injuries to his abdomen, requiring him to spend the majority of the year in a nursing home to recover from his injuries. The claimant states that while subcontracted through another company, he was a joint railroad employee at the time of the accident.

What constitutes a FELA claim?

According to the federal judge, the man may qualify for the categorization of a railroad employee since his job consisted of loading and unloading functions that required him to get instruction from railroad employees.

For those employed by Connecticut railroad companies, this case raises interesting questions regarding the rights of injured workers and the FELA. Passed in 1908 and designed to provide incentives for employers to enforce safety rules and regulations, this protection grants workers the right to seek compensation for the following after railroad or rail yard accidents:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent damage
  • Emotional and mental anguish

This case illustrates the importance of securing legal help as soon as possible in order to learn if you actually have a case and how you should proceed.

Valid grounds for an FELA claim

While you may believe you have valid grounds for an FELA claim after an accident, it is not always easy to get the compensation to which you have a rightful claim. In order to secure restitution, you must provide evidence that the railroad company, officer, manager or other employee caused your accident through negligence. The negligence may directly relate to defective equipment, lack of safety training or allowing an environment of reckless behavior around dangerous equipment and trains.

Railroads must provide a safe environment for all employees. If you are injured and have concerns about your FELA rights, you would be wise to learn how you can take the appropriate legal measures and secure the money you need for recovery.

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