What is FELA?

What is FELA?

Federal Employers' Liability Act

In 1908, Congress passed the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). It assures railroad employees a safe workplace and gives them and their families the right to recover compensation when injured in a railroad related accident. Under the FELA, injured employees can seek compensation for wage loss, future wage loss, medical expenses and treatments, and for partial or permanent disabilities. Unlike workers' compensation, a railroad injury claim can also include damages for pain and suffering. If an employee is killed on the job, survivors are entitled to recover damages for wrongful death.

A railroader is entitled to recover damages from his company under the U.S. Federal Employees' Liability Act if the following facts exist:

  • The railroad he works for is engaged, even in small part, in interstate commerce; it either runs across states lines or handles interstate freight.
  • When injury to the worker is the result, even in part, of the negligence or carelessness of any officer, agent or employee of the railroad, or the injury is caused by any defect in the cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, road bed, or any other equipment or the road.

The railroads, under the law, have a duty to provide safe places of work for their employees. They must also provide safe equipment, tools and proper working conditions. If any railroad fails to take these safety measures, or if the employee is injured through the carelessness of another employee, the railroad can be held responsible. It is liable to the worker for any traumatic railroad personal injuries, cumulative traumatic injuries, occupational diseases or damages suffered as a result.

The amount of money an injured railroad worker is entitled to recover is decided by two factors: how serious his injuries and losses are, and whether he can show that his injury was in some way, or in some part, due to the fault of the railroad, the negligence of any of its employees, or some defect in equipment, tools, or any unsafe working condition.

FELA Lawyer

The Law Offices of Martin E. Jackson can review the circumstances of your accident to determine whether you have a claim under the FELA. Martin E. Jackson has more than a quarter century of experience as a railroad injury lawyer and is committed to helping injured railroad workers and their families nationwide recover the compensation they deserve.

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