The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a United States federal law
that gives interstate railroad workers that have been injured, sickened
or killed during the course of their employment the right to sue their
employer for damages providing their employer was negligent in whole or in part.
FELA Act was enacted in 1908; Congress passed FELA in response the high number
of railroad deaths that occurred during the late 19th century and the
early 20th century. Under FELA, workers who are not covered by workers'
compensation are able to sue companies for their injuries. Unlike workers'
compensation, FELA allows monetary compensation for pain and suffering,
and the amount is decided based on comparative negligence rather than
being pursuant to a pre-determined benefit schedule as in workers'
Once the railroad worker has proved that the railroad was legally negligent
at least in part, the worker is entitled to full compensation which is
usually far greater than what the worker would be entitled to under their
state's workers' compensation for non-railroad workers. Unlike
the "no-fault" workers' compensation laws where an injured
worker does not need to establish any fault by their employer, when a
worker brings a claim under FELA it is necessary to show that the railroad
or its employees, or an equipment manufacturer was somehow responsible
for the worker's injuries or illness.
Railroad work is known for being a inherently dangerous by nature, whether
it involves working around heavy equipment, hot metals, exposure to toxic
substances or being in danger of a collision or derailment. Railroad workers
can suffer from exposure to benzene and other chemical substances linked
to blood cancers such as aplastic anemia, leukemia, lymphomas,
mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancers. While many chemicals are no longer being
used by railroads, diseases such as mesothelioma can take decades to develop.
Whether you have been hurt in a machinery accident, a collision, or if
you've suffered an illness or disease from toxic exposure, at Hartley
& O'Brien, we have extensive experience filing FELA claims on
behalf of West Virginia railroad workers. Since injured workers are entitled
to significantly more compensation under FELA versus workers' compensation,
it's absolutely essential that we document and present your case effectively.
We urge you to contact a West Virginia
personal injury attorney from our firm to arrange a free consultation. Our record speaks for itself;
you pay nothing unless we settle your case so you have nothing to lose.