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Review of the Federal Employers Liability Act

When a railroad worker gets hurt on the job in Granite City, Illinois, he or she has some special legal options which are not available to many other people who get hurt while at work.

Specifically, the worker has a right to pursue a claim in federal court under the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA. Although it has obviously been changed over the course of time, FELA has been the law of the land for over 100 years, having been passed by Congress in 1908.

As distinct from state workers' compensation laws, FELA is not a "no fault" system, meaning that an employee who gets hurt on the job has to prove that the railroad was somehow legally responsible for the accident.

In exchange for having to take this extra step, however, an employee will be allowed to seek compensation for his or her non-economic losses like pain and suffering, as well as compensation for lost wages, medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Moreover, "negligence" in a FELA case isn't too hard to prove, relatively speaking. FELA lists a set of detailed safety standards railroads must maintain for the protection of their employees; if the railroad runs afoul of any of these standards, even only slightly, then an employee is more likely to have a successful negligence claim under FELA.

Still, while FELA offers important benefits to railroad employees in the Granite City area, filing a FELA claim and getting compensation is not always easy. In this respect, it often is a smart move for an injured railroad employee to get the help of an attorney who has experience with maritime and railroad injuries.

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