Railroad workers have a higher risk of injury than people in most other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatality rate for railroad workers is more than double that of all other work-related deaths. From January to November 2012, for example, there were 3,583 injury cases involving on-duty employees and 15 deaths.
Considering that the railroad industry is relatively small, only employing a little more than 300,000 workers, the risk of injury is statistically very high. Railroad workers are covered under the Federal Employees Liability Act (referred to as FELA), which outlines rights and obligations after an accident or injury at work.
The Chicago FELA accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are proud to represent injured railroad workers from across Illinois. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an Illinois railroad accident (or if you lived in Illinois or received medical treatment in the state), contact a FELA attorney now for a free review of your case.
Our office has pursued Illinois FELA railroad cases involving:
FELA and Illinois Railroad Workers
In 1908, the U.S. government created FELA as a way to compensate railroad workers for their injuries more thoroughly than normal workers’ compensation. The U.S. government determined that a separate entity should be created for railroad worker compensation due to the large amount of injuries and deaths that working on railroads caused. It was decided that the burden of these injuries should be passed on to the railroad companies through FELA.
FELA differs from standard workers’ compensation in several ways. Under workers’ compensation, it is not necessary to prove fault by the employer for an employee to make a claim; FELA is a tort-based system. Many railroad workers in Illinois are employed by companies such as: METRA, Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.
- Damages awarded under FELA are often higher in value than through workers’ compensation.
- Damages can be awarded for pain and suffering.
- Negligence must be proved on the part of the employer; however, it is not required to prove that the employer was entirely to blame, only partially.
Due to the unique requirements that apply to FELA railroad cases, having legal representation from a skilled railroad accident attorney is important for the injured worker. Since negligence must be proven, having a railroad injury lawyer who is educated on the legalities involved with FELA cases can make a large difference in the amount of the awarded damages.
Common Causes of Railroad Injuries
Many of the accidents that injure railroad workers do not happen on the trains but instead involve other duties that are performed in the average workday. Train crash accidents are a small percentage of the injuries, although they may be more severe. For example, some of the top causes of injuries in 2012 were:
- Falls: The most injuries happened when a worker was walking and tripped, fell, or stumbled due to some type of obstacle.
- Hearing damage: Damage to hearing due to noise over time was the second most common single cause of injury.
- Collision: Injuries sustained from driving or riding in other motor vehicles, such as trucks or forklifts, were common.
- Overexertion: Several types of overexertion injuries were reported, such as lifting, lining switches, and applying the handbrakes.
Trust the Best Chicago FELA Law Firm for Railroad Worker Injury Lawsuits
Each railroad accident lawyer from our firm is experienced in handling FELA and railroad worker cases throughout Illinois. If you or a family member has been injured while working for a railroad, we invite you to discuss your options for compensation with a railroad injury attorney. We offer a free consultation and do not charge a fee unless we are able to win a financial award on your behalf.
Resources for Chicago, IL, Railroad Injury Victims