The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides the legal basis for railroad employees injured on the job to recover damages due to the negligence of the railroad companies they work for.
FELA exempts railroad employees from state workers compensation laws which would bar an employee from suing his railroad employer. Before FELA was enacted, workers couldn’t sue because the Federal Government has power over interstate commerce. Prior to FELA there was no way for injured railroad workers to receive compensation.
Due to the differences between the workers’ compensation and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, it is important to choose a FELA lawyer trained and experienced in handling FELA lawsuit filings.
FELA utilizes a legal doctrine called “comparative negligence” that dictates that a jury determine the percentage of negligence shared by the worker and the railroad employer in order to determine the award given to the injured worker.
Fela Actions and Railroad Disability
The Railroad Retirement Act provides RRB benefits and disability compensation for workers who have become occupationally disabled or totally disabled.
The RRB is an agency that is independent and under the federal government. It’s job is to administer retirement benefits, survivor benefits, unemployment benefits and benefits for sickness or disability. These benefits are limited to the nation’s railroad employees and their families.
The RRB is separate from the Social Security program although the two are coordinated regarding earnings credits.
In addition to compensation under FELA, injured employees may also be eligible for retirement benefits, sickness benefits, and disability annuities from the Railroad Retirement Board.