Federal Employers Liability Act vs. Workers' Compensation

May 27, 2022

Understanding the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a crucial law that protects the rights of railroad workers who are injured on the job. Enacted in 1908, FELA was designed to ensure that employees of interstate railroad companies are fairly compensated for any harm caused by their employer's negligence.

Under FELA, railroad workers have the right to sue their employer for injuries resulting from negligence, such as unsafe working conditions, defective equipment, or inadequate training. This key distinction sets FELA apart from Workers' Compensation laws, which typically operate on a no-fault basis.

The Benefits of FELA

One of the major advantages of FELA is that it allows injured railroad workers to seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings. Unlike Workers' Compensation, FELA provides workers with the opportunity to pursue full financial recovery for the harm they have suffered.

Additionally, FELA cases often result in higher compensation amounts compared to standard Workers' Compensation claims. This is due to the fact that FELA cases involve proving employer negligence, which can lead to punitive damages being awarded in certain instances.

Differences Between FELA and Workers' Compensation

While both FELA and Workers' Compensation systems aim to protect workers, there are significant differences between the two.

1. Fault:

Under FELA, it is necessary to establish that the employer's negligence contributed either wholly or in part to the worker's injuries. However, Workers' Compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that employees are entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

2. Compensation Amount:

Workers' Compensation benefits are predetermined according to state laws and typically cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. In contrast, FELA allows injured workers to pursue full compensation for all damages, including those that are difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

3. Legal Process:

FELA claims follow a legal process that involves gathering evidence, proving employer negligence, and demonstrating the extent of damages suffered. Workers' Compensation claims generally involve less legal complexity and follow a streamlined administrative process.

4. Statute of Limitations:

Each jurisdiction has its own set of statutes of limitations for filing FELA claims. Workers' Compensation claims often have a shorter statute of limitations, emphasizing the importance of timely reporting and filing.

When to Consult with an Attorney

If you are a railroad worker who has been injured on the job, it is crucial to understand your rights and options. Consulting with an experienced FELA attorney can help ensure that you receive the necessary legal guidance throughout the claims process.

The Law Office of Stanley E. Robison, Jr. specializes in FELA cases and is committed to fighting for the rights of injured workers. With extensive knowledge and expertise, our team is well-equipped to navigate the complexities of FELA law and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us protect your rights under the Federal Employers Liability Act.

Megan Bloom
Thanks for sharing! It's great to see an in-depth look at FELA and its importance in protecting the rights of railroad workers.
Nov 8, 2023
This article provides a comprehensive understanding of FELA and how it protects the rights of injured railroad workers. A must-read for anyone interested in workers' compensation.
Oct 12, 2023