In 1908 Congress passed FELA, a comprehensive statute to protect the rights of injured railroad workers and their families. FELA applies to all railroads and their employees. FELA is the exclusive remedy for most claims a railroad employee may have against his employer. A FELA case may be brought in either state or federal court. Employers covered by the FELA have an absolute duty to provide a safe workplace and working environment. FELA protects engineers, brakemen, switchmen, and other railroad employees who are hurt or injured on the job.
Most, if not all Railroad industry jobs are inherently dangerous. You work with lots of moving parts and heavy machinery while under constant pressure to get the job done faster and more efficiently. Common railroad worker injuries include: hearing loss, back and neck injuries, chemical and asbestos exposure, shoulder and knee injuries, amputations, burns, and in many cases, exposure to toxic items.
It is very important for any employee involved in an accident to report the accident or injury immediately. Additionally, it is equally important to identify faulty tools or equipment that contributed to the accident and injury on an appropriate accident report form. Common causes of injury include a loose ballast, too large of ballast causing a fall, vegetation too high that caused a fall, bad equipment, poorly maintained equipment, oil or grease on the ladder or stairs, no flashlight batteries, poorly lit areas at night, having to use the incorrect tool to perform a job, having one man do something it should take two to complete, ice, etc. As you can see there are numerous instances where poor working conditions can lead to a railroad employee accident.
If you are hurt while working for the railroad and are considering hiring a railroad accident attorney, please note that you are not required to hire a union-designated attorney. In fact, there are many reasons why you should hire a non-union attorney to handle your claims.