Steps in a FELA Lawsuit
A worker on the railroads could have suffered serious injuries from an accident that occurred, or their injury may have been the result of wear and tear over years of time dedicated to laboring on a railroad In any case, there may be grounds for a
FELA lawsuit to be explored. As with any personal injury claim or lawsuit it is important to build as strong a case as possible. A railroad worker will have the option of taking out a lawsuit rather than workers' compensation that other workers have access to. This can come with advantages and setbacks.
In a workers' compensation claim it is more assured that a worker will be taken care of and given benefits. They have less to prove. In a lawsuit it will be necessary to show the court that the incident was a result of negligence and was not the fault of the injured party. This can be an employer that failed to properly train staff or that did not offer adequate safety equipment. If fault can be proven, then compensation may be won. When taking out a case there will be a number of steps that come along with it and if you are looking to pursue this route it is important to be informed.
Initial Steps of a Case
One of the first is to seek medical attention. This is important to both make sure the injuries are dealt with, as well as providing physical evidence that there was an injury and how extensive it was. An employer or the company will likely want you to fill out a report regarding what happened and it is important to work with a qualified attorney at this point that can make sure you do not say anything that could cause you to have your case invalidated. An investigation will begin to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident in the first place. This can be an extensive investigation and during this time your legal representation can also begin their own thorough review.
A discussion will likely take place regarding if there is the possibility of a settlement to be met. You want to make sure that you have a strong representative that will not allow you to settle for less. An attorney from the firm will assess the extent of damage and formulate an estimate as to what you rightfully deserve. This will be important to make sure that you are not backed into a corner and bullied into agreeing to a lower amount. A professional can help weigh the odds and determine if it is the best option to agree to the settlement or take the case to court.
Filing with the Court
A civil action can be filed and the first aspect will be the complaint. It will need to be filed and served to the individuals that it corresponds to. A defendant that is served will need to respond in the allotted time frame, stating if they agree to the charges against them or if they agree with part of them. Next is the discovery period and during this there are three forms that can take place; a document production, questions and depositions. This will be a chance for both sides to give their account. For those looking to avoid court or that have been given an order by a judge, an Alternate Dispute Resolution can be sought. This comes in the form of negotiations or mediation. An agreement may also allow for a motion to be sought, through which certain aspects are taken out of a case since both sides are not disputing the topic.
A case that cannot be resolved and does go to court may be heard by a judge or a jury. After a decision has been made by the court, appeals can be sought after the fact if it was believed that the resolution was not accurate. Each case is different and there is no across the board answer for what will take place in these situations. It will depend on a number of factors, including if a settlement is able to be reached without the case being taken to court. A case can range in time lengths from being a matter of months to taking years to resolve. FELA is a federal law and the changes that have been made through it can work for or against an injured railroad worker, and this depends greatly on how efficiently the case is handled.