When you work in the railroad industry, you put your life on the line every single day. From the moment you clock in, you’re exposed to hazards and risks that most people can’t even imagine. Heavy machinery, dangerous equipment, toxic substances – it’s all part of the job. And when something goes wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic.

That’s where we come in. At Onward Injury Law, we’re not just another personal injury firm. We’re a team of experienced, dedicated railroad worker injury attorneys who understand the state and federal laws that govern these cases.

We know the ins and outs of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), and we’ve spent years fighting to protect the rights of injured railroad workers just like you.

What is FELA and Why Does It Matter?

In 1908, long before state workers’ compensation laws came into existence, Congress passed FELA (codified at 45 U.S.C.S. § 51-60), a special federal law just for railroad workers.

Unlike traditional workers’ compensation, FELA requires claimants to prove negligence. However, the law allows claimants to seek more comprehensive damages than they could under a state workers’ comp claim.

FELA Advantages

Some perks in filing a FELA claim include:

  • Larger settlement for your injuries.
  • Covers more types of damage, like pain and suffering.
  • Liability assignment bar is lower than in other injury cases.

Why FELA Accidents Happen

Common causes of railroad worker injuries that FELA covers include:

  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Broken or faulty equipment
  • Not enough training
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Falling objects
  • Toxic chemical exposure

Onward Injury Law has years of experience handling FELA claims for railroad workers in Decatur and throughout Illinois.

Types of Railroad Worker Injuries Covered by FELA

FELA covers a wide range of injuries that railroad workers might suffer.

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Lung diseases from toxic exposure
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Our railroad worker injury lawyers can help you take on the complex railroad industry and the unique challenges involved when fighting for workers’ rights.

How FELA Claims Work

Bringing a FELA claim isn’t just reporting the injury and filling out regular paperwork.

It’s a complex and time-consuming legal process with several steps, but with the right legal representation, you can maximize your chances of success.

  1. Report the injury to your employer: You must notify your supervisor or the appropriate department as soon as possible after an injury to initiate the FELA claims process.
  2. Discover evidence and documentation: This proof may include medical records, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and any other relevant information.
  3. File a complaint: Your personal injury attorney will file a complaint in state or federal court, depending on the specifics of your case.
  4. Negotiate with the railroad company: Onward Injury Law will negotiate a fair settlement with the railroad’s legal team soon after filing your claim, using the evidence gathered to support your damages.
  5. Go to trial, if necessary: If you cannot reach a settlement with the railroad company, your attorney will represent you in court and fight for your rights before a judge and jury.

This process probably sounds complicated, but you don’t have to go through it alone. An Onward Injury Law FELA attorney will guide you through each step.

Proving the Railroad’s Fault

To succeed in a FELA claim, you must demonstrate that your employer was negligent in some way and that this negligence contributed to your injuries.

These acts usually occur when the company fails to provide a reasonably safe work environment.

FELA Negligence Examples

  • Not providing proper safety equipment or training.
  • Failing to maintain equipment or tracks.
  • Violating safety regulations or industry standards.
  • Requiring workers to perform tasks in unsafe conditions.

Onward Injury Law personal injury attorneys use safety reports, maintenance records, witness testimony, and expert opinions to prove the company’s negligence.

It’s important to note that any violation of a FELA safety statute strengthens your case and makes it easier to assign liability.

Safety Violations in FELA Claims

Safety regulations play a big part in FELA cases.

If the railroad violated a safety rule and you got hurt because of it, the court may presume negligence arose from the act itself (negligence per se).

Under these conditions, you only have to show the violation caused damages to win your case.

Some important safety regulations include:

  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rules.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
  • Railroad-specific safety policies.

Your FELA lawyer will discover whether the company broke any of these rules before negotiations and your case heads to trial.

What You Can Get from a FELA Claim

One of the key advantages of filing a FELA claim, as opposed to a traditional workers’ compensation claim, is the potential for more comprehensive damages.

Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • All your medical bills, past and future.
  • Lost wages and benefits.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement.

Factors That Impact Claims

However, several circumstances may affect your final settlement:

  • Injury severity and its long-term effects.
  • Returning to work.
  • Whether you contributed to the injury (you can still recover damages, but the amount is reduced).

Every case is different. Contact the experienced FELA lawyers at Onward Injury Law to get a better idea of what your claim might be worth.

Why You Need a FELA Attorney

Railroad companies have deep pockets and teams of lawyers on their side. To level the playing field, you need a personal injury law firm that knows FELA inside and out.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Successful outcomes in winning FELA cases.
  • Deep knowledge of the railroad industry and FELA rules.
  • Commitment to personal service.
  • Access to outside resources for proving injuries and damages.

Onward Injury Law has these qualities and more for helping railroad workers just like you get well-deserved compensation.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in FELA Claims

Many railroad workers make mistakes that hurt their FELA claims.

Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Don’t wait too long to report your injury.
  • Never make recorded statements without talking to a lawyer first.
  • Be wary of accepting a quick settlement offer from the railroad.
  • Always get proper medical treatment.
  • Don’t try to handle the claim on your own.

Avoiding these mistakes places you in a much stronger position to receive a favorable case outcome.

Your Next Steps After a Railroad Injury

Don’t wait to take action if you’ve been hurt on the job.

You generally have three years from the date of your injury to file a FELA claim. This might sound like a long time, but building a strong case takes time.

The sooner you start the process, the better your chances of receiving a favorable settlement or jury award.

Don’t Trust Insurance Companies

It’s important to note that the railroad’s insurance company isn’t on your side. These businesses train their adjusters to pay you as little as possible. And initial insurance offers are usually barely enough to cover the actual long-term care that you’ll need.

That’s why having Onward Injury Law in your corner from the start is important.

Get Help with Your FELA Claim Today

If you’ve been injured on the job, Onward Injury Law is here to help.

Let us work on your complex FELA claim and fight for your rights.

Onward Injury Law offers free consultations where our team will listen to your story, explain your options, and help you decide the best path forward.

Contact us and get the skilled legal help you deserve today.