Most workers in the United States are covered by federal or state worker’s compensation laws. These laws provide certain protections to employees who are injured at work, but under most of those laws the employee is not required to show fault on the employer’s part that led to their injury. However, railroad employees are covered by a very different type of law called the Federal Employers Liability Act (“FELA”). A railroad worker seeking to recover under the FELA must prove the railroad was negligent or at fault, which can include a violation of a federal safety statute or a federal safety regulation.
The FELA is a specialized statute that governs workplace injuries incurred by railroad employees. Railroad occupations remain one of the most dangerous job classifications in the United States. In 1908 Congress enacted the FELA (Federal Employers’ Liability Act) with the purpose of forcing carriers to work diligently for the safety of their employees. While the FELA has indeed forced railroad carriers to become safer and has allowed for railroads to be held accountable to employees for the on-duty injuries they incur, there is still significant safety risk for workers in the railroad industry.
Under the FELA, railroad employers engaged in interstate commerce have a “non-delegable duty” to provide their employees with a reasonably safe place to work. The failure to do so constitutes negligence. A railroad’s non-delegable duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work includes the duty to inspect the premises where its employees will be working and to take reasonable precautions to protect its employees from possible danger even if that property is owned by a third-party.
As every railroad worker knows, there are many rules and regulations that apply to railroad work. These rules and regulations can often be complex and confusing. The railroads have teams of management employees and attorneys to help interpret the federal laws and regulations in a way that benefits the railroad. This is why injured railroad employees need The FELA attorneys at Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. to represent them and to protect, prosecute and obtain full justice and compensation for their injuries.
Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. has been representing injured railroad workers for decades. Our attorneys have experience working with the federal laws and regulations that were intended to protect railroad workers, but which are often used against these workers by railroad management. We know how to apply these important laws to promote work place safety, provide protection to injured workers and recover the maximum award for those who have been injured in the course of their railroad employment.