Chicago FELA Lawyer
Railroad workers have a higher risk of injury than 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. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) covers employees in the railroad industry and outlines their rights and obligations after a serious injury at work.
The Chicago, IL, personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC proudly represent injured railroad employees across Illinois.
Contingency Fee Agreement
As with all our injury cases, our workers' compensation attorneys handle FELA claims on a contingency fee basis. Our Chicago railroad injury law firm only receives a legal fee when we successfully recover compensation to resolve your claim.
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)
Congress enacted FELA to compensate railroad workers injured on the job in Illinois and other states.
The federal government passed the Act in 1908. The United States Government created FELA as an exclusive remedy to fully compensate employees for their injuries with more than the benefits received through regular workers' compensation.
Because of the high incidence of injury and death in railroad work, the government determined that a separate entity should be created to provide compensation and protect employees hurt at work.
Critical 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 laws in several ways.
Unlike workers' compensation, where fault for a workplace injury is irrelevant, railroad workers must prove negligence. However, proving negligence or at least partial fault of their employer or fellow employee can be challenging.
Damages in a FELA case are often higher in value than under workers' comp. Proving negligence could help recover damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering as determined by a jury.
Under Illinois' worker's compensation law, railroad workers injured at work would be limited in their financial recovery based upon the statutory compensation limits under worker's 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 serious injuries caused by falling happen when the injured worker is walking and trips or stumbles over some 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
- Asbestos exposure: The railroad company could be liable for damages if the employee injured on the job was exposed to the toxic materials that caused asbestosis or mesothelioma
Common Types of Illinois Railroad Worker Accidents
Thousands of railroad employees are involved in workplace mishaps and accidents yearly. 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 harmed 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.
- Trains: Trains, cars, and other vehicles trigger railroad accidents for rail workers. Employees are frequently crushed, sideswiped, run over, or harmed at work.
- Noise/Fumes: Railroad companies don't properly contain dangerous fumes and noises. These failures cause permanent damage to employees' lungs, ears, and other parts of their bodies. So our personal injury law office 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 USCA) applies pure comparative negligence to filing FELA claims where the worker's own percentage of negligence is applied to the value of their interstate commerce claim. (See CSX Transp., Inc. v. McBride, 564 U.S. 685)
The doctrine of pure comparative fault used in FELA cases differs 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.
Any victim and surviving spouse can file a claim in state or federal court to recover compensation.
Proving a Railroad's Negligence As 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 unsafe working conditions.
Many FELA claims allege employer/company negligence, like the failure to:
- Provide a safe working environment with sufficient equipment and follow safety standards
- Provide adequate training
- Assist workers in ensuring safety
- Keep the work environment free from hazards and other dangers
An experienced FELA attorney can assist you with establishing fellow employee/employer negligence.
What Are 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
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injury
Trust the Chicago FELA Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for Railroad Worker Accident Lawsuits
Each Chicago 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.
Railway workers recognize our Chicago, IL, law office as a trusted law firm committed to injured railroad workers' rights.
Free Case Evaluation
Call our Chicago FELA lawyer 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 financial settlements and look forward to doing the same for you.
Let our Chicago railroad injury lawyers talk to you about your FELA claim through a confidential attorney-client relationship.
Call for a free consultation with experienced FELA lawyers about railroad injuries and other related practice areas.