Q: What happens if the accident is partly my fault?
A: Good news. FELA uses the doctrine of comparative negligence. This doctrine allows workers who are partially at fault for their own injuries from a railroad accident to recover some portion of the damages. For example, if a jury determined that the worker was 50% negligent and the damages $200,000, the worker would get half of the damages or $100,000. (under the doctrine of contributory negligence a plaintiff who is even 1% negligent would get nothing!) FELA claims may be pursued in State or Federal court and a jury trial is provided to the plaintiff. It is up to the jury to determine if there was negligence on the part of the railroad, co-workers or other railroad personnel; if the plaintiff was negligent and contributed to the accident and resultant railroad injury, and if so to what degree; the amount of damages suffered by the railroad worker as a result of the railroad accident.