In the early part of the 20th century, many people worked around railroads and rail yards, and those jobs were especially dangerous. Because of the dangers associated with the work, the federal government established the Federal Employers Liability Act in 1908. FELA is still in action today.
Among other things, FELA provides for compensation for railroad workers who are injured on the job. The act does’t provide coverage in the same way traditional workers’ compensation plans do, so it’s important for workers to understand how they are protected under the act if something should happen on the job.
First, workers of any type related to the railroad industry can make a claim under FELA if they can show that they were injured as part of the job. That means they didn’t have to be injured while performing work on or near a train or railroad.
Second, liability is a concern with FELA. With traditional workers’ compensation policies, a worker only has to be injured on the job for a successful claim. With FELA, the worker has to prove that the employer was somehow liable for the injury. FELA requires employers to be responsible for the safety of workers in a number of ways, and failure to follow through with those responsibilities can represent liability.
For example, employers must inspect workplaces to ensure they are free of unnecessary hazards. Failure to do so that results in injuries could mean liability on the part of the employer and compensation to the injured employee through FELA. Other responsibilities of the employer include providing training and safety equipment, inspecting equipment regularly and ensuring safety regulations are followed. If you feel you have been injured at the fault of an employer in the railroad industry, it might be worth looking into the possibilities of a claim with a legal professional.
Source: FindLaw, “Railroad Worker Injuries / FELA – Overview,” accessed Jan. 08, 2016