If you work in the railroad industry, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to familiarize yourself with the laws that protect you if you suffer an injury on the job.
Three important federal acts hold the railroad responsible for negligent safety procedures and can help secure your financial peace of mind should an accident prevent you from being able to earn a living.
The most important piece of legislation is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act of 1908 (FELA). FELA grants injured railroaders the right to sue their employer and recover damages for lost wages, past and future; out-of-pocket medical expenses; compensation for pain, suffering, and the loss of life’s pleasures; and any scarring or disfigurement resulting from an accident.
The Federal Safety Appliance Act also protects railroaders. This act regulates the implementation and use of safe automatic couplers, grab irons, ladders, steps, and hand and air brakes. It requires that these components be in working condition at all times. If an employee is injured by a defective component, the railroad can be held legally responsible for his or her injuries, even if the employee was aware of the risks involved in using the faulty item.
Finally, the Locomotive Inspection Act requires that a train’s engine components be in proper working condition and safe to operate at all times.
Most importantly, if your injuries are covered by either of these latter two acts, you do not have to prove that the railroad was negligent – only that the component caused your accident. This is not the case with the FELA, where the railroad must be proven to be, at least in part, “legally negligent” in causing the injury.
The federal government affords railroaders many protections for any injuries they might suffer. If you’re hurt on the job, know your rights and contact an attorney experienced in FELA and its related federal acts to handle your case and get you the compensation you deserve.