Have you been injured on the job working for a rail company in Texas?
What are the legal rights of an injured railroad worker? Let's look at a hypothetical: A railroad worker is working on the train tracks and notices a train rapidly approaching. He is forced to dive out of the way into a nearby ditch and in the process breaks his leg. Was he at fault for being on the tracks in the first place? Did the train engineer fail to sound his horn upon seeing the worker? Did the train dispatcher communicate to the worker that a train was en route?
Making one's case is obviously the greatest challenge when litigating against a rail company. They have strict regulations and teams of a attorneys that point to these regulations as if there were no possible way to be negligent. But, that is where our experienced attorneys come in. We can help you win your case by proving they were negligent.
In this article our attorneys will explain which laws are in place to protect the rights and safety of rail workers.
Questions answered in this article:
- Which laws protect rail employees injured on the job?
- Who is on my side after I'm injured on the job?
- What should I do if I am injured by one of these large railroad companies?
Rights of rail employees:
Even though working for a railroad has some inherent risks, the law still obligates railroads to provide a reasonably safe workplace for their employees. As such, you have the right to a save work environment.
Also, you have the right to report any FRSA or OSHA violations without receiving unfair treatment in your professional duties (being put on the night shift, being assigned additional duties for no apparent reason) or retaliated against in any way. Further, you have the right to refuse to do anything that you're ordered to do that would jeopardize your safety, the safety of a coworker, or the safety of the public. If your employer retaliates against you, you may have the right to file a whistle-blower suit against them.
If you were injured through the negligence of your employer or a coworker, you have the right to sue the employer under the FELA laws.
How Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) affects your case:
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is the statute that governs most railroad work injury cases. FELA was enacted in 1908 to allow injured railroad workers to pursue compensation from railroad companies when an injury is caused by negligence. Many people conflate FELA with workers' compensation laws. There are, however, some important distinctions.
First and most importantly, in a FELA case you must prove that the employer was negligent. On the contrary, with a workers' compensation case, a worker is eligible to receive compensation simply because they were hurt on the job; there is no consideration of negligence.
Another distinction is that with a FELA case the railroad is allowed to apply the "comparative negligence doctrine", meaning that they're allowed to argue that the employee was also at fault for their own injuries. Naturally, their goal in applying this doctrine is to reduce the amount that they may be forced to pay the injured worker. If the injured party is found to be 100% at fault he or she cannot recover compensation under FELA. If the employee is not fully 100% at fault, however, then he or she can sue the rail company in state or federal court to recover compensation. Conversely, with a workers' compensation claim there is no consideration of comparative fault. The worker can either receive benefits or they can receive nothing. Again though, with a FELA claim there is effectively a sliding scale of compensation, so having a good attorney on your side will make a huge difference.
A FELA suit usually results in far more compensation than a workers' compensation claim.
A FELA attorney can help enforce your rights.
Hiring an attorney that is experienced in these cases is paramount to determining a successful outcome for your case. The train accident attorneys of Grossman Law Offices have a team that can properly investigate your claim and get the recovery you are entitled to. Call us toll free at 1-855-326-0000. If we can't win your case, you don't owe us a cent.
Related Articles For Further Reading:
- Understanding How FELA Impacts Your Injury Claim
- What Damages Are Available to Injured Railroad Workers?
- Special Considerations for Workers Injured on Trains Owned by the Federal Government