If you are a railroad worker who has been injured on the job in Chicago, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation under federal law. Unlike most workers, injured railroad employees are not limited to collecting benefits through Illinois workers’ compensation.
Recognizing the dangers that railroad workers face on a daily basis, in 1908 the federal government passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in order to provide protections not offered to other types of employees. Under FELA, railroad workers who have been injured on the job can seek full compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
However, just because these remedies are available does not mean that they are easy to obtain. In Chicago and throughout Illinois, railroad companies often vigorously dispute their employees’ FELA claims. At Malman Law, we handle several FELA claims each year, and we know what it takes to win. Let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Railroad Workers’ Rights Under FELA
With FELA, railroad workers can file lawsuits against their employers for losses arising out of job-related injuries. FELA protects all railroad workers – not just those who operate trains – and it provides important benefits not available to victims of other types of injuries. It does this in two important ways:
- Unlike state-law workers’ compensation claims, FELA claims are not limited to medical and disability benefits; and,
- Unlike ordinary personal injury claims, FELA claims do not require proof that your employer is primarily responsible for your losses.
As a result, if your employer’s negligence – no matter how slight – in any way contributed to your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for all of your physical, financial, and emotional losses. If you have suffered a serious injury that requires medical treatment and prevents you from doing your job, these losses could be substantial. Injury victims often do not realize the full scope of their legal rights, and at Malman Law we have helped numerous clients collect million-dollar and multi-million-dollar awards.
Examples of negligence that may entitle you to compensation include:
- Failure to enforce safety policies and procedures
- Failure to provide a safe work environment and inspect trains and worksites to ensure they are free from dangerous hazards
- Failure to provide safe tools, equipment, and machinery
- Failure to furnish appropriate safety devices
- Failure to provide adequate training, supervision, and assistance to employees
- Failure to adequately staff to allow for work to get done safely
- Failure to protect employees from other workers’ negligence
Importantly, FELA’s coverage is broader than claims just against negligent employers. If another employee’s negligence or a manufacturer’s faulty product caused your injury, this too can be grounds to file a lawsuit under FELA.
Injuries Covered by FELA
FELA covers all types of work-related injuries and occupational illnesses within the railroad industry. While many workers and railroad companies mistakenly believe that FELA only applies to physical injuries, there are no limits on the types of injuries and illnesses that can form the basis for a FELA claim. Some common FELA claims include:
- Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Cumulative trauma injuries
- Exposure to asbestos
- Exposure to industrial chemicals and solvents
- Fall-related injuries
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective products
- Repetitive stress injuries
As experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers who have successfully handled more than 15,000 cases, we have seen almost every type of job-related illness and injury. We can use our significant experience to help you fight for maximum compensation.
What to Do after You Suffer a Railroad Injury
If you work in the railroad industry and have been injured on the job, there are important steps you need to take in order to protect your legal rights. Following your accident, you should:
- Seek prompt medical attention (unlike workers’ compensation claims, you do not need to worry about seeing a doctor who has been pre-approved by your employer)
- Contact your union representative and make sure the accident gets reported to your employer
- Take photographs and write down everything you remember about the accident
- Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Avoid speaking to anyone at the railroad or any insurance companies
- Schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney right away
Schedule a Free Consultation about Your Chicago Railroad Accident
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, the attorneys at Malman Law can help you fight for just compensation. Call (888) 562-0928 or contact us online today to find out if you have a FELA claim.