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Railroad Injuries

Employees in many professions face the possibility of injury on the job. Unfortunately, railroad workers face a greater risk than most. Railroad work is among the most challenging and risky jobs in the United States. Railroad employees must understand their rights and protections under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

This article will explore the common types of railroad worker injuries. It will overview FELA, and discuss employer requirements. It also outlines the process of filing a FELA claim and highlights how railroad injury attorneys can help in these situations.

Common Types of Railroad Worker Injuries

Railroad workers face various hazards that can lead to injuries. This is due to the dangerous nature of railroad work. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Broken bones or strains: caused by falls or striking objects
  • Brain injuries: caused by falls or striking objects
  • Collisions and derailments: resulting in severe physical trauma
  • Repetitive motion injuries: due to continuous physical tasks
  • Electrical burns: from working with high-voltage equipment
  • Hearing loss: from constant exposure to loud noises
  • Back injuries: from lifting heavy objects

Every year, many people suffer personal injuries due to railroad accidents. Sometimes, these serious injuries can also result in wrongful death.

Understanding the Long-term Impact of Railroad Injuries

Another vital aspect to consider is the long-term impact of railroad injuries on workers' lives. Railroad accidents can result in chronic health issues, long-term disabilities, or even a lifetime of medical treatment. Injured railroad workers must understand the potential long-term consequences of their injuries, physically and financially.

When filing a claim, it's essential to account for future medical expenses, ongoing care, and the potential loss of future earnings. Also, consider the emotional and psychological toll of a severe injury, such as the impact on family life and mental health.

Including these long-term effects in a FELA claim ensures that injured workers get comprehensive compensation. This compensation should reflect the extent of their injuries and their effect on the worker's future.

FELA and Railroad Injuries: A Brief Background

Congress passed FELA in 1908 to protect railroad workers injured on the job. During the 19th and 20th centuries, railroad workers suffered high rates of injuries and deaths. FELA was a response to this. Before FELA, railroad workers injured on the job had limited recourse and often struggled with medical bills and lost income.

FELA shifted this paradigm, allowing workers to sue their employers for negligence. This was a significant change from standard workers' compensation laws. But, the railroad industry remains dangerous despite these laws. Railroad workers continue to face a higher rate of injury and death than workers in other fields.

FELA is a federal law that gives railroad workers certain rights and protections. Under FELA, railroad employers must offer to adhere to a higher standard of care. They must enforce safety regulations and give proper safety training and supervision. They must also refrain from making unreasonable demands on workers. Any breach of this duty can lead to a railroad company being liable for employee injuries.

Unlike typical workers' compensation, FELA is a federal law requiring railroad employees to prove their employer's negligence contributed to their injury. Traditional workers' comp operates under a no-fault system. This shows FELA's intent to encourage safer workplace practices in the railroad industry. The emphasis on proving negligence places a higher burden on the injured worker. It also potentially leads to larger settlements and drives improvements in workplace safety.

FELA's Employer Requirements

Under FELA, railroad companies must provide a safe working environment. This includes:

  • Maintaining equipment and tools properly
  • Inspecting workplaces to ensure safety
  • Providing adequate training and supervision
  • Preventing unreasonable work quotas or expectations
  • Ensuring the work environment is free from harmful substances like asbestos

Employers that fail to do so may be liable for worker injuries that happen on the job. When an employer fails to fulfill these responsibilities, an injured employee can file a FELA claim.

Filing a FELA Claim

To file a FELA claim, an injured railroad worker must:

  1. Seek immediate medical help.
  2. Report the injury to their employer immediately.
  3. Gather evidence of employer negligence.
  4. File the claim within the state's statute of limitations (generally, a FELA claim must get filed within three years from the date of the injury).
  5. Be prepared to prove how the injury impacts their life.
  6. Work with an attorney experienced in railroad injuries to navigate the complex legal process.

How a Railroad Injury Attorney Can Help

A railroad injury attorney plays a pivotal role in FELA claims. They can give expert legal advice and guide you through the process. They can also help gather and present evidence to prove employer negligence. Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies and railroad companies. They can also represent the injured worker in federal court if necessary.

If you or a loved one sustained an injury as a railroad worker, contact an experienced personal injury attorney about your claim today.

Learn About Railroad Injuries

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