FELA Claim or Workers’ Compensation Claim

Jun 13, 2022
By Peter Friedmann

When a worker is injured on the job, the natural next step will usually be to file a workers’ compensation claim. While filing a workers’ compensation claim will be the norm in most industries, railroad workers are covered by an entirely different federal law known as the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).

This is a federal law that has been in place since 1908 that provides railroad employees with a legal means to seek compensation and damages following any injuries suffered due to negligence on the part of their railroad employer.

What are FELA Claims & Who is Covered?

A FELA claim is a claim that is filed by a railroad worker following an injury suffered while on the job.

All railroad workers, from train yard workers to crew members, are covered by FELA.

Below, we take a closer look at some important questions tied to FELA and the differences between workers’ compensation and FELA claims.

Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and FELA Claims

There are some key differences between FELA and workers’ compensation to take note of.

Under FELA, workers are given the right to pursue a lawsuit against their employer. A FELA lawsuit will typically be pursued in federal court.

The ability to sue an employer is not available under workers’ compensation typically. FELA is different in that regard.

Another key difference between FELA claims and workers’ compensation is in the compensation amount you may receive and the type of damages available.

FELA Claims Workers’ Compensation
No cap on compensation/damages A cap amount typically exists based on injuries/other factors that are taken into consideration
Compensation may include:

·         Medical expenses

·         Lost income (both current and future)

·         Pain and suffering

·         Partial, full, or permanent disability

·         Pain and suffering

·         Other non-economic damages like emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and loss of companionship

Compensation is limited to:

·         Medical expenses

·         Lost income (both current and future)

·         Reinstatement, which most employees do not want after being terminated

·         Reasonable attorney fees

Is FELA Only for Railroad Workers?

As of 2022, yes. FELA only covers railroad workers. It does not apply to other workers or industries.

If you are unsure if you are covered by FELA, feel free to reach out to The Friedmann Firm. We can help you determine if you are eligible for FELA coverage.

Who Needs FELA Coverage?

All railroad workers are covered by FELA. This includes a wide range of workers that may work for a railroad carrier including but not limited to:

  • Trainyard workers
  • Mechanics
  • Track inspectors
  • Conductors
  • Maintenance workers
  • Crew members
  • Engineers

Is FELA A Workers’ Compensation?

FELA is not a workers’ compensation. Railroad employees are entitled to collecting and seeking compensation through a FELA claim only if they can prove negligence on the part of the railroad carrier they work for.

And in terms of negligence, the employer’s negligence can be the entire cause or part of the cause of an injury for a FELA claim.  This is called comparative negligence.

A FELA claim lawyer can help to gather evidence and take you through the process of proving negligence on the part of your employer when you file a claim.

What are FELA Benefits?

As we have explored above, FELA provides a few benefits to railroad workers such as legal protections and the right to sue their employer if the employer’s negligence causes or even partially causes a workplace injury.

With over 74,000 railroad workers in the United States (as of 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) working in an industry where serious injury is a high risk, FELA benefits are important to be aware of – just in case, you suffer an injury on the job.

FELA cases can be complex, and you may find yourself seeking help when you go to file a claim. Our FELA claim lawyers are here to represent you throughout the entire FELA claim process.

Connect with Our FELA Claim Lawyers

While it is difficult to cover everything about benefits under FELA in one spot, you can reach out to The Friedmann Firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation if you have further questions. Whether you have questions about the differences between worker’s compensation and FELA claims or you want to know more about how FELA coverage might apply to you, we have the answers.

Our FELA claim lawyers work with individuals throughout Ohio and we can look over your claim and case to provide legal advice and representation.

You can reach us over the phone at 614-610-9755 or book a consultation online.