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If you or someone you know has been injured while working for a railroad company, you may have rights and could be entitled to compensation under the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA).

What is FELA?

The Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) is a series of federal laws, originally passed by Congress in 1908 to protect the rights and safety of railroad workers. FELA created a system whereby injured railroad workers would receive legal compensation for their injuries.

Under FELA, railroads have a duty to provide safe places of work for their employees, safe equipment, tools and proper working conditions, and to ensure that employees are properly trained, equipped and supervised. FELA protects railroad workers and their families from the negligent acts of railroad companies or their employees which result in injury or death to the workers. FELA is the equivalent of workers compensation for railroad employees.

What is covered?

FELA applies to all railroad common carriers and their employees who are engaged in interstate commerce.

FELA covers four basic types of injuries:

  • Sudden and traumatic injuries (broken bones, back strains, pulled muscles and tendons, lacerations)
  • Repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, hearing loss)
  • Aggravation of preexisting conditions
  • Occupational diseases (lung cancer, skin diseases, and asbestos related diseases)

Recovery of damages is generally allowed for injuries caused by:

  • Negligence of the railroad
  • Failure of the railroad to provide safe tools, equipment, appliances, or a safe place to work
  • Violation of the Safety Appliance Act, Boiler Inspection Act or Power Brake Law hours of service and OSHA Regulations

Recoverable Damages

FELA allows for recovery of the following damages upon a finding of negligence:

  • Past and future lost wages, including loss of benefits such as health and dental insurance
  • Past and future medical expenses necessary for treatment of the injury (unless already paid or covered by insurance provided by the railroad)
  • Past and future pain, suffering and mental distress If killed on the job, the worker's survivors are entitled to recover all damages, without limit, which they have suffered as a result

If you or someone you love has been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: May 10, 2024