A railroad injury is one that affects railroad workers and can be caused by various factors including exposure to diesel fumes and mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos found in railway equipment. Railroad employees are protected by the Federal Employer’s Liability Law (FELA) which was passed in 1908. Engineers, brakemen, switchmen, and all other railway employees are afforded protection under this law.
FELA is exclusive to railroad injury and is different from state worker’s compensation laws as well as personal injury laws. Negligence by the employer has to be proved to win your case and to claim damages under FELA. A Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer with specialization in railroad litigation will be able to help if you have been injured at the workplace. It is estimated that there are about 3,000 train accidents in the U.S. and about 1,000 people lose their lives annually.
Most railroad injuries are preventable with a little bit of care and caution. Unprotected railroad crossings, badly maintained cars or tracks, mechanical errors, disregarding safety regulations, and driver error are responsible for a vast majority of such accidents taking place in the U.S. each year. Chemicals inhaled from diesel fumes or diesel smoke over an extended period of time can lead to different kinds of asthma, mesothelioma, lung diseases, and various types of pulmonary disorders.
Railroad injury compensation under FELA is much better than worker’s compensation because it provides for the employee to sue, obtain a jury trial, and claim damages. Before this can happen, it is essential for the plaintiff to prove that a state or federal regulation was violated. There is a time limit for filing of lawsuits and this is usually three years form the time of injury or death. In cases of diseases, there are some further stipulations regarding the start of the three years. So, if you or a loved one have been in such an accident or hurt in this manner do not hesitate to call an attorney immediately.
FELA has special provisions for those workers whose railroad injury leads to career ending disability. Two types of long term disability benefits can be availed of. Of this, one is an “occupational disability” benefit which is paid out monthly. The “total disability” benefit is the second such compensation available to an injured worker. Benefits and compensation provided by FELA are much more than those under a state workers’ claim.
A worker injured in a railroad workplace mishap is entitled to claim past and future lost wages, medical expenses incurred which are not covered by insurance, physical pain, and emotional suffering. FELA cases may be filed in either state court or federal court. The decision on which court to file your lawsuit in will depend upon various factors and a qualified attorney will be able to guide you in this matter. Railroad companies have paid millions to settle solvent lawsuits under FELA over the past few decades.
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