FELA trials involve personal injury lawsuits in which injured railroad employees seek compensation from railroad companies via court proceedings.
Although many FELA cases are settled out of court (either via mediation or arbitration), in some cases, injured parties will have to prove their claims in a trial before a jury.
While the FELA trial process can take months to resolve, in many cases, injured railroad employees can win compensation for their medical bills, ongoing treatment costs and pain, and suffering by following through with a FELA trial.
What is FELA?
First enacted in 1908, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a law that specifically defends the rights of railroad workers who are injured while working as the result of their employer’s, a co-worker’s or an equipment manufacturer’s negligence.
Given the increased dangers associated with working in the railroad industry, FELA typically allows injured railroad employees (or families of deceased railroad workers) to collect higher settlement awards than those offered by a state’s workers’ compensation statutes.
Injuries for which railroad workers are typically granted FELA settlements include (but aren’t limited to):
- back and neck injuries
- broken bones
- crushing injuries
- permanent disabilities
- traumatic brain injury.
It’s important to note, however, that FELA stipulations have a strict statute of limitations: Railroad employees must file their lawsuit within three years of sustaining the injury for which they are seeking compensation.
While this period of time is easy to distinguish for a single-event injury (such as a fall or a derailment), it can be harder to determine when repetitive motion injuries or exposure to toxins are the cause of the physical harm. Generally in such ambiguous cases, the date the injury is diagnosed will start the three-year statute of limitations.
When to Consult a FELA Attorney
Following a severe on-the-job injury, railroad employees should:
- Get emergency medical care to prevent further injury and optimize their chances for recovery
- Consult with an experienced FELA lawyer, once their health is stable, to learn more about their legal rights and entitlements
During a free, initial consultation injured parties can:
- Find out if they are entitled to a FELA settlement
- Learn more about the legal process associated with pursuing a FELA lawsuit
- Get expert advice and legal counsel
Should a FELA claim necessitate a trial, our experienced FELA attorneys will provide aggressive, professional representation to all plaintiffs in an effort to help them win the settlements they deserve.
For more information about FELA or to discuss your individual claim, contact a FELA attorney today.