Railroad Employee Injuries

“The Federal Employers’ Liability Act was designed to put on the railroad industry some of the cost for the legs, eyes, arms, and lives which it consumed in its operations . . . and to relieve men ‘who by the exigencies and necessities of life are bound to labor’ from the risks and hazards that could be avoided or lessened ‘by the exercise of proper care on the part of the employer in providing safe and proper machinery and equipment with which the employee does his work

– United States Supreme Court, 1949

Railroad employees do not have workers compensation. Instead, the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA) is the sole and exclusive remedy for railroad employees who are hurt or killed on the job. The FELA allows an injured railroad worker to file a lawsuit against his or her employer for personal injuries if those injuries were caused by the employer’s failure to provide a reasonably safe place to work.

Under the FELA, a railroad employer is liable for the injuries or death of an employee which result “in whole or in part” from the employer’s negligence. That is, railroad employers are liable for occupational injuries if their negligence played any part at all, however small, even in the slightest, in producing the injury or death. The extent of negligence and causation necessary to establish liability under the FELA are considerably less than that required in traditional common law negligence cases.

If you suffered an occupational injury while working for a railroad, it is critical that you notify your employer and fill out an injury report. You should also seek medical attention if you believe you may have been injured. Railroad companies are experienced at investigating injury claims. When they become aware of a work-related injury, railroad companies often hire lawyers and investigators to interview witnesses, take photographs and measurements, and gather other critical evidence that could be used against employees in an FELA case. If a train engine is involved, railroad employers will also likely download all engine data, revealing train speed, distance, braking application, and train movement. Hiring an FELA railroad lawyer will help ensure that you have the benefit of similar evidence to help prove your claim.

If you or a family member were injured while working for a railroad company, contact Viñas & DeLuca for a free and confidential consultation by calling (305) 362-3750. Or, you can complete our Free Case Evaluation Form and we will contact you.