The federal government passed a law that specifically addresses railroad worker injuries, the Federal Employers Liability Act (or “FELA”). Filing a claim under FELA can be complicated but manageable. This article will explain the general procedures for filing and enforcing a FELA claim.
If you are employed by a railroad and are hurt while at work, your employer will begin an investigation into the accident. This normally requires you to fill out a report regarding the details of the incident. As a general rule, you should be as honest and accurate as possible in your report.
At this stage, it is usually helpful to speak to an attorney so that you do not compromise any of your rights to recovery. Your attorney would then begin their own investigation into the accident. By this stage, you and the railroad should be in negotiations to determine the possibility of a settlement. If you are unable to reach a compromise, then you may choose to file a civil action.
At this stage, the process will be much more akin to a classic lawsuit. Filing a civil action involves the basics of any other claim: you will need to file a complaint, summons, proper service of process and other matters traditionally associated with lawsuits. At every stage of litigation you are always able to settle with the opposing party, so bear this in mind. Assuming no one is able to settle, then the case proceeds to trial.
Generally, the less money at stake means that more matters can be settled and the faster your claim can be resolved. If you or a loved one is a railroad worker and was injured while on the job then you may want to consult with an attorney. FELA claims are notoriously complicated, and the last thing you need is to lose out on your claim because of a procedural snafu.