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New Orleans Louisiana FELA And Railroad Injury Legal Blog

What does FELA have to do with me?

No matter how short a time you have worked in the railroad industry, you are already aware of the differences between this job and any other job you have held. For one thing, you can't beat the pay, but you may already know how difficult railroad work is on your personal life.

Another big difference between working for the railroad and just about any other job is the constant danger. Railroad injuries are often catastrophic. If you have ever witnessed an accident on the job, you know that if it is not life-ending, it is often career-ending. This is why railroads have a very different system for dealing with workplace injuries.

Things to know about railroad safety and FELA

Do you work on a Louisiana railroad? Whether your job is on a commuter train, a passenger locomotive or a freight train, you're undoubtedly aware of the risk for personal injury involved in your line of work. Hopefully, your employer has provided necessary training and all available equipment and resources to help keep you and your co-workers as safe as possible.

Recent years have brought significant advances in modern technology that shows great promise for its ability to help prevent railroad accidents. There will never be a way to completely eliminate the risk, however. That's why it's wise for anyone in your line of work (as well as those who travel on trains as passengers) to research ways to help prevent injury. It's especially prudent as a railroad employee to familiarize yourself with the Federal Employers Liability Act if you haven't already done so. It is key to seeking recovery for your losses if you suffer injury on the job.

What happens when I make a FELA claim?

When you accepted the job as a rail worker, you probably learned that any injuries you suffer during the course of your duties are not covered by workers' compensation as they are in most other industries. The federal government understood the inherent dangers of your job, so Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act to ensure your employer always takes the utmost care in protecting your safety.

FELA claims differ from workers' compensation in that you address them directly to your employer or through a civil lawsuit if you can show that negligence on their part caused your injuries. The point is to hold railroad companies to the highest standard of safety by making them liable for workers who suffer injuries due to preventable hazardous conditions. If you suffer injuries as a rail worker, there are steps you must follow to file a claim through FELA.

Injured on the railroad? Know your FELA facts

In the late 1800s, the average railroad worker could expect to survive the job a mere seven years. If you have researched U.S. railroad history, you may know that a major public outcry regarding unsafe working conditions prompted the enactment of certain laws meant to protect railroad workers by allowing them to pursue litigation against negligent employers. As you may also know, if you're familiar with the workers' compensation program, most employees in non-railroad jobs are prohibited from filing personal injury claims against their employers.  

Railroad workers at risk from employers and the general public

Many people in Louisiana and beyond earn their livings at Amtrak or other railway systems in the nation. Whether you're a conductor, engineer or line worker, you no doubt understand the tremendous safety risks involved on the job. Railroad work consistently ranks high on lists citing the most dangerous jobs in America. Sometimes, such risks come from motorists and other members of the public. Just as traffic safety analysts consider intersections extremely dangerous areas on the road, in the train world, officials can say the same about railroad crossings.

Hopefully, your employer has provided proper training and all available equipment to keep you as safe as possible on the job. It's always a good idea to be especially alert at a railroad crossing, however. If your job involves physically standing on the tracks in such areas (perhaps for maintenance reasons) you are greatly at risk for injury. Knowing the dangers ahead of time and where to seek help if an accident occurs are high priorities for all railroad workers.

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