If you work for an interstate railroad that operates between two or more different states or owns and maintains railroad track used by another interstate railroad, you are exempt from state workers' compensation laws and may sue your employer for injuries on the job. If you can prove your injury was caused as a result of your employer's negligence or violation of federal safety statutes, you may recover lost wages, the cost of your medical treatment and other damages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA).
In most cases, injured workers need the help of an experienced FELA lawyer to receive the benefits they deserve. I am attorney Ira M. Maurer, and I have more than 32 years of railroad litigation experience. In addition, I am a nationally recognized train accident trial lawyer, a founding board member of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys (ARLA) and have won more than 1,000 railroad claims. I will explain everything you need to know about railroad injuries and FELA benefits.
I represent railroad workers injured on the job, as well as passengers injured in rail accidents in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and states throughout the Northeast U.S. Call The Maurer Law Firm at 845-896-5295 today for a free consultation.
How Is FELA Different from Workers' Compensation?
Under workers' compensation, the mere fact that you are injured on the job entitles you to certain limited benefits and you cannot sue your employer. Compensation for lost wages is based on a percentage of the worker's wages, and medical benefits are subject to being contested by your employer before the workers' compensation board. Under workers' compensation, there is no compensation available for pain and suffering.
FELA allows injured workers to sue their railroad employer for negligence. You will likely need a lawyer's help to prove negligence, however. Other FELA benefits include:
- Full past and future wage-loss compensation
- Past and future pain and suffering compensation
- Compensation for lost fringe benefits if worker is permanently disabled
- Vocational retraining costs
- Ability to choose your own doctors; railroad cannot interfere with your treatment
- Railroad cannot refuse to pay your medical bills
Because of the expense of providing this type of compensation under the FELA, the railroad will work hard to deny responsibility for your injury. Without a lawyer's help, you may accidentally give the railroad statements to use against you or incorrectly fill out injury reports and other documents. These mistakes can irreparably damage your FELA claim.