FELA settlements are monetary awards granted to railroad workers who are injured at work as the result of an employer’s, co-worker’s or equipment manufacturer’s negligence.
FELA, properly known as the Federal Employers Liability Act, was enacted in 1908 to protect the rights of railroad employees as a result of the increased dangers they face on the job. From exposure to toxins to crushing incidents to derailments, railroad workers have a greater risk of being seriously injured or killed while working than employees in many other industries.
Should railroad employees sustain an injury at work, it’s essential that they:
- Seek immediate medical treatment for the best chances of recovery
- Consult with an experienced FELA lawyer to learn more about their legal rights and find out if they are entitled to a FELA settlement for their injuries
FELA Statute of Limitations
Section 56 of FELA’s guidelines set the statute of limitations for FELA cases to be three years after the injurious event. Following three years, the case is no longer viable, and injured parties will NOT be able to seek compensation for their losses.
In many cases, this period of time is easy to decipher, as the date of a specific accident – such as a fall, collision, or derailment – will be the starting point for the three-year statute of limitations.
However, should an injury result from repetitive motion or exposure to toxins, pinpointing the starting date of the FELA statute of limitations can be more complicated? In these cases, the statute of limitations typically begins as soon as an individual is diagnosed with an injury.
FELA Settlement Formula
While there is no explicit, straightforward formula used to generate FELA settlements, there are a variety of factors considered when deriving fair settlement awards for FELA cases. Some of these factors include:
- the type and severity of the injury
- the cost of medical bills and ongoing treatments
- lost wages
- whether a permanent disability has occurred (and injured parties are no longer able to earn a living)
The more severe an injury is, the more likely it is that injured railroad workers will:
- need more costly, expensive treatments
- miss more time from work
- have slimmer chances of recovery
- win higher FELA settlement awards
FELA Settlement Amounts
The following recent FELA judgments provide a clearer picture of how FELA settlements vary across different industries and jurisdictions:
- An Illinois resident who worked for Union Pacific Railroad won $637,500 after sustaining severe back and neck injuries following a train collision.
- A Florida resident who worked for a prominent railroad company won $978,000 after developing a severe shoulder injury following a train collision.
- A West Virginia resident who worked for a prominent railroad company was awarded $370,000 following back and neck injuries he sustained after a derailment.
- A Wyoming resident who worked for Rail Link, Inc. was awarded $8.6 million after losing both his legs in a traumatic crushing incident.
For more information or to speak with an experienced FELA attorney to discuss your own circumstances please contact us today.