Why FELA is So Important for Injured Railroad Workers


The operation of our nation’s railroads creates a number of serious hazards for railroad workers, many of whom incur devastating injuries and occasional fatalities. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, since railroad workers are constantly exposed to very heavy, sometimes fast-moving machinery and work with a lot of heavy tools, as well as around a lot of flammable chemicals, especially after a derailment of a train carrying hazardous cargo. They also work around high-voltage electrical lines. If you or a loved one is a railroad worker who has been injured on the job due to the negligence of a railroad company, you may be able to recover financial damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act or FELA.

FELA Protects the Rights of Railroad Workers

Many people don’t realize that, whereas most workers in the United States are covered by the workers’ compensation system, railroad workers actually have a different type of protection on the job. Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in 1908 as a way to protect railroad workers while they were on the job, as well as to compensate them sufficiently for any injury they receive on the job. FELA allows workers to sue railroad companies over their pain, suffering, and economic losses. For injured employees, it’s important to understand how FELA works for railroad workers.

Key Differences in Coverage Under FELA & Workers’ Comp

The key difference between coverage for railroad workers under FELA and the workers’ compensation insurance system is that FELA is a fault-based system, whereas workers’ compensation is not. In order to receive FELA benefits, an injured railroad worker is required to prove that their injury was the result of at least some negligence on the part of a railroad employee or an agent or contractor. They can also recover if they were injured by a faulty piece of equipment.

Another very important difference between FELA and workers’ compensation insurance comes with the fact that a worker has the right to sue their employer for damages in state or federal court, an option that is not available in the workers’ compensation system.

In most situations, the employer and/or some other party or parties have some level of responsibility, which means railroad workers generally have more options under FELA than they do under state workers’ compensation systems. Also, due in part to this flexibility, FELA awards tend to be much higher than workers’ comp claims.

FELA Claims

Filing a FELA claim is a complicated process. There are many rules for submitting claims, such as notice requirements and strict filing deadlines. That’s why you need Liggett Law Group on your side. Our Lubbock FELA claims lawyers are familiar with all aspects of FELA. We will put our vast legal knowledge and experience to work for you, fighting the railroad companies to get you the financial damages you deserve.

Injuries covered by FELA can include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Burns
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Crush injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive trauma injuries
  • Occupational illnesses such as Whole Body Vibration Syndrome
  • Hearing loss
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Toxic chemical injuries, including those caused by:
    • Solvents
    • Asbestos
    • Benzene
    • Welding fumes
  • Death

Among the risks that railroad workers face, one of the most common injuries includes toxic exposure to chemical solvents. These solvents are used for degreasing and cleaning locomotives, and their use has been linked to varying degrees of brain damage. Thousands of workers have already been awarded amounts for solvent damages under FELA, with CSX having already paid up to $35 million.

Railroad companies hate FELA. They and their insurance providers will do everything possible to protect their interests and avoid taking responsibility for their negligent actions. However, FELA requires employers to fulfill multiple requirements to keep their workers safe. Under FELA, railroad employers owe their workers a number of duties, a violation of any one of which can lead to a finding of liability under FELA, including the duties to:

  • Provide a reasonably safe work environment
  • Provide workers with sufficient safety equipment and devices and the proper tools
  • Provide workers with adequate training, supervision and assistance in order to make it possible to do their jobs properly and safely
  • Ensure that workers are safe from intentional acts of others that may cause them harm
  • Enforce all applicable safety rules and regulations

We Represent Injured Railroad Workers in Lubbock and across Texas

The rules pertaining to filing a FELA claim are complex and can be daunting to those who don’t fully understand this specific federal law. If you plan to file a claim in Lubbock, you need the services of a law firm with extensive experience handling railroad accident cases. Liggett Law Group has successfully represented injured railroad workers in Lubbock, New Deal, Wolfforth, Abernathy, Buffalo Springs, Woodrow, Plainview, Brownfield, and surrounding communities for over 20 years.

We are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and rail workers who have suffered injuries as a result of train accidents or working on the railroad. Liggett Law Group handles all FELA railroad injury cases on contingency basis. This means there are no up-front costs to you if we represent you and you don’t pay us unless we recover financial compensation on your behalf.

Speak With Railroad Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one is a railroad employee who has been injured on the job, don’t put off getting legal help. There are deadlines for filing a FELA claim. Call Liggett Law Group at (855) 955-HURT (4878) or contact us online. A Lubbock FELA claims lawyer will examine the details of your situation and advise you on the best way to proceed.