Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)

Pittsburgh FELA Attorneys

Dedicated Representation for Injured Railroad Workers

The Federal Employers Liability Act or FELA was first enacted in 1908, as a response to America’s booming Westward expansion. As railroad networks grew, more workers were exposed to hazardous conditions, with some estimates putting the average number of railroad worker fatalities at 23 per day. Eventually, President Roosevelt fought to establish FELA in order to protect the ever-increasing ranks of railroad workers and their families.

Although the rates of injury in railroad work have decreased over the years, it’s still one of the most dangerous occupations in America. Thanks to FELA, however, any railroad worker who has been injured as a direct result of railroad or employer negligence has the legal right to compensation for their injuries – even if that workers’ duties did not specifically happen in or around a train.

At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our Pittsburgh FELA lawyers can fight for you. Give us a call today at (844) 383-0565 for a free consultation with our experienced team.

Proving Negligence and Liability in a FELA Claim

Railroad workers who become injured during the course of their duties are not eligible for traditional workers’ compensation, as nearly all injuries suffered by railroad employees or workers can be covered under FELA. However, there are some limits and caveats to this coverage. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, in order to bring a claim under FELA, you must be able to show a clear example of negligence on part of your employer or another party.

Negligence also forms the legal linchpin of personal injury cases, and it means the defendant must have violated some crucial duty towards you as the plaintiff. Although FELA claims are very different from personal injury lawsuits, they do require you to demonstrate negligence occurred, by showing that the defendant had a duty towards you and failed to meet it, directly resulting in your injury or disability.

Some of the legally mandated duties that an employer and/or railroad company must perform under FELA include:

  • Protecting railroad workers from irrational quotas in the workplace
  • Training and supervising all employees to properly use equipment for their job functions
  • Inspecting the environment for hazards, and acting to rectify these hazards quickly
  • Protecting workers from the intentionally harmful acts of others
  • Informing workers about safety regulations and ensuring adherence to these rules

How Is a FELA Claim Different from Other Injury Cases?

Although negligence must be proven in order to receive benefits under FELA, the burden of proof is lighter than in injury cases. FELA plaintiffs seeking compensation only have to show that the defendant wassomewhat negligent, and this is often called the “featherweight” burden of proof. This is included under FELA with the knowledge that railroad workers face unusually extreme risks on the job, and that railroad companies, equipment manufacturers, and supervisors have a moral imperative to protect their workers and maintain high safety standards.

However, FELA claims still present unique challenges if the defendant claims comparative negligence. This strategy allows the defendant to claim the worker was partially at fault for their injuries, and this can often reduce the total compensation awarded. If a jury determines that the railroad company is only 60% responsible for your injuries, you will only receive 60% of the total amount you claimed under FELA.

Getting the Compensation You Need to Recover

Railroad work is known to be dangerous, and it often results in serious and catastrophic injuries when employers are negligent. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury on the job, it can affect your ability to seek future employment or even perform basic daily tasks, and it may cost you thousands of dollars in medical treatments and surgeries.

At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our Pittsburgh FELA attorneys are ready to stand by your side and help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We’re a family-owned business with deep roots in Pennsylvania, and we are passionate about defending those who need help paying for hefty medical expenses. With millions recovered on behalf of our clients, you can rest assured that we will fight for the maximum compensation available.

Call us today at (844) 383-0565 for a free consultation with our FELA lawyers in Pittsburgh.

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