Chicago FELA Lawyer
Railroad workers have a higher risk of injury than people in most other occupations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2017, there were thirteen work-related deaths per 100 full-time rail employees.
Considering that the railroad industry is relatively small, employing around 200,000 workers nationwide, the risk of injury is statistically very high. Employees in the railroad industry are covered under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which outlines their rights and obligations after a serious injury at work.
The Chicago IL personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are proud to represent injured railroad employees from across Illinois.
As with all of our severe injury claims, our FELA attorneys handle Chicago FELA claims on a contingency fee basis. We only receive a legal fee when we successfully obtain financial compensation for you.
In Chicago, Illinois, train companies employ railroad workers, including Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Metra commuter transit system.
Legal Protection for Injured Railroad Workers Under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a law enacted by Congress to compensate and recover employees injured at work in Illinois and other states.
Passed in 1908, the United States Government created FELA to more fully compensate employees for their injuries than did benefits received through regular workers' compensation.
Because of the high incidence of injury and death occurring in railroad work, the government determined that a separate entity should be created to compensate and protect injured employees.
Key Differences Between FELA and Workers Compensation Law
Lawmakers decided that the burden of bearing this risk should be passed on to the railroad companies through FELA. FELA differs from standard Illinois worker's compensation law in several ways.
Unlike workers' compensation, where fault for a workplace injury is irrelevant, injured railroad workers must prove at least partial fault on the part of their employer or fellow employee to make successful FELA claims, which is a tort-based system.
Damages in a FELA case are often higher in value than under workers' comp. They can include damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering as determined by a jury.
Under Illinois' workers' compensation law, railroad workers injured at work would be limited in their financial recovery based upon the statutory limits of compensation under workers comp.
Since plaintiffs should prove negligence, retaining a Chicago FELA attorney who fully understands the legalities involved in railroad worker injury and damages, FELA claims can make a significant difference in the amount of FELA compensation injured employees receive from a jury.
Frequent Causes of Railroad Worker Injuries
Many mishaps that injure rail employees do not happen in train accidents or derailments but instead involve duties performed during the average workday. As a result, train crash accidents account for a small percentage of railroad injuries, although they may be more severe.
Some of the most common causes of railroad worker injury are:
- Falls: Most injuries happen when the injured worker is walking and trips, falls, or stumbles over some type of obstacle
- Hearing damage: From experiencing elevated noise levels over long periods
- Collision: Trauma sustained from driving or riding in other motor vehicles, such as trucks or forklifts
- Overexertion injuries: Result from heavy lifting, lining switches, and applying the hand-brakes
Common Types of Illinois Railroad Worker Accidents
Thousands of railroad employees are involved in workplace mishaps and railroad accidents every year. These railroad accidents take a physical, financial, and emotional toll.
These incidents occur on the railroad tracks, in the yards, or on the train. The most common types of railroad negligence FELA claims filed under FELA law include:
- Overexertion: Overexertion accidents for workers injured when put in tough situations like lifting too much or leaning too far to reach something.
- Equipment: Equipment and tools are complex and dangerous. Even with proper training and supervision, an incident can arise, but employees do not always get those advantages. For example, linking tools, hammers, and other equipment caused mishaps for staff.
- Trains: Trains, cars, and other vehicles trigger railroad accidents for rail workers. Employees are frequently crushed, sideswiped, run over, or otherwise injured at work.
- Noise/Fumes: Railroad companies don't do a good job containing dangerous fumes and noises. These failures cause permanent damage to workers' lungs, ears, and other parts of their bodies. So our personal injury law firm is aggressively prosecuting diesel exhaust cancer lawsuits on behalf of injured workers.
What if a Chicago Railroad Employee is Partially Responsible for an Accident?
A worker injured on the job in a railroad mishap could bring a Chicago FELA claim if they were partially responsible for their accident. The Federal Employers' Liability Act FELA(45 U.S.C.A.) applies pure comparative fault to filing FELA claims where the worker's own percentage of negligence is applied to the value of their claim. (See CSX Transp., Inc. v. McBride, 564 U.S. 685)
The doctrine of pure comparative fault used in FELA cases is different from the traditional doctrine of comparative fault. Under pure comparative fault, an injured worker partially responsible for an accident can still pursue a FELA claim.
Proving a Railroad's Negligence That's Responsible for a FELA Accident
Under FELA law, injured railroad workers have the burden of demonstrating that the railroad company's negligence was responsible for their workplace injury. Expert witnesses can be instructive in establishing how an employer's negligence resulted in an unsafe working condition.
Many FELA claims allege employer/company negligence, like the failure to:
- Provide a safe working environment with sufficient equipment, tools, and safety measures
- Provide adequate training for employees to perform their jobs safely
- Assist workers to ensure safety
- Keep the work environment free from hazards and other dangers
An experienced FELA attorney can assist you with establishing fellow employee/employer negligence.
The Most Common FELA Injuries?
The most frequent serious injuries that railroad workers suffer in the workplace include:
- Lung damage
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back/neck injuries
- Burn injuries
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Lost limbs and amputations
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injury
Trust the Chicago FELA Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for Railroad Worker Accident Lawsuits
Each railroad accident lawyer from our law firm is experienced in handling railroad employee injury legal issues throughout Illinois.
Were you or a family member injured while working for a railroad and experienced pain and suffering and lost wages? If so, our Cook County FELA attorneys can discuss your options to recover compensation by filing a FELA claim on a contingency fee basis.
Our Chicago, IL law office is recognized by railway workers as a trusted law firm committed to injured railroad workers' rights.
Call our Chicago FELA attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation when injured through someone else's negligence. We've helped clients recover millions of dollars in compensation and damages for their pain and suffering through FELA claims settlements and look forward to doing the same for you.
Let our Cook County FELA lawyers talk to you about your FELA claim through a confidential attorney-client relationship. Then, call us for a free consultation to speak to our experienced FELA lawyers about railroad injuries and other related practice areas.
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