FELA Claims: Don’t Let Your Employer Railroad Your Rights!

Virginia Attorney John P. Harris III : helping railroad workers prepare and execute successful FELA claims in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Caroline County, Stafford, King George and throughout Virginia.

Throughout Virginia’s history, railroads have been an important part of the Commonwealth’s development. Some of today’s largest cities in Virginia – including Manassas, Roanoke and Norfolk – began as railroad junctions, while other places such as Alexandria, Richmond and Petersburg grew from medium-sized towns to key centers of commerce and industry with the arrival of the railroad.

But along with the progress and growth trains brought to Virginia also came many dangers, many of which still threaten railroad workers today. While dependence on trains as a form of public transportation has waned, the railroad industry is now the dominant mover of freight for American businesses, federal and state governments. Like the trucking industry, the owners of railroad companies demand long hours and hard work from the locomotive engineers, conductors, brakemen, switchmen, hostlers, yardmasters, maintenance of way laborers who run their lines everyday. It’s clear that the railroad companies often push their workers far too hard, and in conditions that are far from optimal where the safety of railroad workers is concerned.

Statistics concerning injuries and deaths related to train and railroad accidents show that nearly 14,000 accidents occurred in 2003, resulting in 858 deaths and almost 9000 injuries. About 60 per cent of these casualties were employees of railroad lines, who often sustained their injuries due to lack of adequate safety procedures, old or defective equipment or other circumstances that could have been prevented by more diligence and investment by the railroad companies in protecting their workers.

When railroad workers sustain injuries on the job, they have unique legal rights under a 1908 law known as the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Instead of relying on the often meager allotments of workers compensation for their injuries, railroad workers can instead choose an experienced and independent attorney to review the circumstances surrounding their injury, and pursue punitive damages directly against their employer. This right is almost exclusive to the railroad workforce. Workers injured in other professions usually cannot sue their employers, and attorneys must then pursue compensation against the insurance companies of the employer, or advise their clients to accept workers compensation.

Under FELA, workers who’ve suffered severe injuries – such as amputations, back injuries, neck injuries, ankle or knee injuries, shoulder injuries, hand injuries, foot injuries, eye injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries – and the survivors of workers who have been killed on the job should contact an experienced FELA attorney to review their case. Unlike with many other types of personal injury claims, there is no state imposed limit on the amount of damages an injured worker can claim. But the caveat is this: without an experienced FELA attorney preparing and executing your claim, you could end up with nothing at all for your injury.

Whatever the circumstances of the railroad injury you or a loved one has endured, John Harris will always ensure that both your immediate and long-term needs guide the direction of your case, making the trust you place in him well deserved.

If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of working on the railroad and want to pursue your rights under FELA legislation, contact John Harris today.


Library for FELA Claims: Don’t Let Your Employer Railroad Your Rights!:

  • Pedestrian Safety
    Since 1990, more than 5,000 people have been killed while walking on railroad rights-of-way and at railroad crossings. Thousands more have suffered serious injuries. Operations Lifesaver, an organization dedicated to reducing railroad crossing accidents, recommends that pedestrians take the following advice.
  • Motor Vehicle Safety at Railroad Crossings
    In the United States there are more than 250,000 highway-rail grade crossings. With as many as 96% of train accidents and injuries occurring at highway rail crossings, drivers, pedestrians and the railroad industry all benefit from steps that produce increased safety on and around crossings. These tips may help you prevent a train accident and the catastrophic injuries that often result from them. They may also help you determine a potential means of recovery if you or someone you know has been hurt or killed in a railroad/roadway crossing accident.
  • Railroad Accidents and Train Derailments
    Each year thousands of railroad workers suffer injuries and death while engaged in work-related duties. Railroad passengers also continue to be injured and killed while traveling by train, though declining usage has resulted in an overall decrease in the number of passengers injured. The most shocking number of non-work-related train accidents and injuries occur at railroad/highway crossings. According to the Federal Highway Administration, a train strikes a vehicle or a pedestrian at a rail crossing approximately every 2 hours in the United States. These 12 daily incidents have the potential of producing catastrophic injuries and deaths

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Web Resources for FELA Claims: Don’t Let Your Employer Railroad Your Rights!:

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