Alabama FELA Lawyer
The first railroad common carrier began transporting passengers in 1830, although wooden railroads first appeared in America in the early 1700s. However, the modern workers’ compensation (the system that offers no-fault compensation for workers who are injured on the job) didn’t become part of the legal framework in our country until much later. Before the modern system of workers’ compensation existed and was enacted on a state-by-state basis, the federal government realized that a system of compensation for injured workers in the rail industry was necessary, and that was when the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was passed.
If you are a railroad worker in Alabama, especially one who has been injured on the job, it’s important that you understand your rights under FELA and how our Alabama FELA lawyer can help.
What Is FELA?
As stated above, FELA stands for Federal Employers Liability Act. Enacted in 1908, the law was originally passed in hopes of decreasing the high incident and accident rate in the railroad industry, as well as to promote uniformity in railroad safety practices and equipment. Specific language of FELA provides that:
Every common carrier by railroad..shall be liable in damage to any person suffering injury while he is employed by such carrier in such commerce, or, in case of death of such employee,…for such injury or death resulting in whole or part from the negligence of any of the officers, agents or employees of such carrier, or by reason of any defect or insufficiently, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track roadbed…or other equipment.
This means, essentially, that a railroad worker who is injured on the job can bring a claim for damages against their employer. In order for the worker to be successful in their claim, they must be able to establish that their employer acted negligently (or without the proper degree of care) and that the negligence was the proximate cause of the employee’s injuries. This is in contrast to a workers’ compensation claim, where an employee is not required to prove their employer’s negligence.
Common Types of Railroad Worker Injuries
Compensation under FELA may be pursued when a railroad worker is injured on the job and the negligence of their employer is to blame. Common types of railroad worker injuries include:
- Burn injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Face and scalp injuries;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Amputation injuries;
- Electrocution injuries;
- Repetitive stress injuries;
- Crush injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries; and
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Types of employer negligence that may lead to the above injuries include:
- Failing to provide proper worker training;
- Failing to maintain equipment and machinery in a safe condition;
- Failing to maintain work premises in a safe condition;
- Requiring workers to work excessively long hours or work under time pressures;
- Failing to provide supervision for employees;
- Failing to prove adequate safety equipment;
- Breaching safety regulations and laws, including OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules; and
The above list is not exhaustive; if you believe that your railroad injuries would not have occurred but for your employer’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact an Alabama FELA lawyer about your right to file a claim and seek compensation.
Types of Benefits Available Under FELA
When a worker files a claim for benefits under workers’ compensation, they can recover competition for the value of their medical expenses, as well as a portion of their lost wages if their injury is temporarily or permanently disabling. Under FELA, on the other hand, an employee who can prove that their employer’s negligence was the cause of their harm can recover compensation for the full value of their economic and noneconomic losses, including compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. In this sense, FELA claims provide an advantage over workers’ compensation claims, the latter of which do not allow for the recovery of noneconomic damages, nor the full value of economic damages.
How to File a FELA Claim
If you believe that you have a right to damages under FELA, it’s critical that you understand the claims process and what steps to take to protect your right to compensation. The following provides a brief overview of the steps necessary to file a FELA claim:
- Notify your employer of the injury and ensure the property injury report forms are filled out in full;
- Get medical attention and treatment;
- Document as much as you can about the accident and your injuries, including how it happened, what you believe your employer did wrong, how much time you’ve missed from work, etc.;
- Cooperate with an investigation, which should be initiated by your employer after you file your injury report;
- Discuss a settlement with your employer.
Sometimes, an employer won’t want to open an investigation or a claim after you report an accident. For this reason, hiring a FELA attorney as soon as possible is strongly advised.
Why Work with Our Alabama FELA Lawyer?
Navigating the claims process can be difficult, especially because the burden is on you to prove that your injuries resulted from your employer’s negligence. When you choose Attorney Richard W. Fuquay, you’ll have an advocate on your side who can explain the law, ensure that you bring forth your claim within the required time limit, investigate your case, calculate your damages, prove negligence, negotiate a FELA settlement, and more. You’ll also have someone on your side whose job it is to improve the outcome of your case and your chances of getting the settlement you deserve.
Call Our Alabama FELA Attorney Today
At the office of the Fuquay Law Firm, our Alabama FELA attorney understands what you’re going through and how important it is that you receive the compensation award that you deserve. To learn more about our Alabama FELA lawyer and how we can serve you, please reach out to us directly by phone at 251-219-0329 or online to request your free case consultation and start the process of holding your employer liable for the harm you’ve suffered.