Experienced Louisiana FELA Lawyer | Railroad Accident – FELA Attorney
Railroads move 28% of US freight annually and have been essential to the US economy for over a century. New transport technologies still haven’t replaced the importance of railroads, which is why the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)—created to protect the rights of injured railroad workers in 1908—remains relevant today.
Louisiana, with its petrochemical industry, offers a unique set of risks, as workers are exposed to both heavy machinery and hazardous chemicals. Broussard + Williamson, experienced Louisiana FELA lawyers, provide legal assistance to railroad employees injured in workplace accidents or due to occupational diseases.
No one expects to get injured in a workplace accident. A workplace injury, especially in the railroad industry, can have a great impact on an employee’s life. To learn more about how we can help you and to schedule a free consultation, call us today at (866) 281-4774.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act and How It Affects Injured Railroad Workers
While most workers in the US have insurance under workers’ compensation, workers in the railroad industry are covered under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act . FELA is a unique piece of legislation that combines worker’s compensation law and the tort of negligence.
FELA covers National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), passenger train workers, and freight railroad workers, among others. Non-railroad employees may be covered under certain qualifying conditions.
Under worker’s compensation, injured workers can only file a claim and receive their compensation benefits through their employer’s insurance under exclusive remedy. Workers can receive compensation regardless of whose negligence caused their injury. However, the worker cannot file a liability claim against their employer, waiving their rights to file a suit in exchange for “no-fault” benefits.
In comparison, FELA allows workers to file an action against their employers for injuries accrued in the line of their work. Workers can file their liability claim either on the federal or state level and are entitled to a trial by jury. Under FELA, injured workers would need to prove negligence on the part of their employer to avail of benefits.
Due to the requirement of proving the railroad employer’s negligence, injured workers need to seek the help of an experienced FELA lawyer. A FELA attorney would be able to provide the legal counsel and representation necessary to establish negligence and get the maximum compensation possible.
At Broussard + Williamson, our team of skilled FELA lawyers has represented railroad workers in their workplace injury claims. Our attorneys can help investigate the circumstances of your injury case and build a personalized legal strategy for litigation. Call us today at (866) 281-4774 to schedule a free consultation.
How Do Railroad Workers Receive Compensation for Their Injuries
To further differentiate a FELA claim from a workers’ compensation claim, it may be helpful to compare the two side by side. Workplace accidents may differ in terms of severity depending on the industry but the fact remains that injuries can have a huge impact on an injured worker’s life. Our FELA and workers’ compensation attorneys at Broussard + Williamson may be able to help inform you on the kind of compensation you are entitled to.
|Federal Employers’ Liability Act||Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Act|
|Claim basis||Requires burden of proof that employer’s negligence is a contributing factor to the injury or occupational disease||Proof of negligence is not required due to exclusive remedy and no-fault grounds|
|Liability||Observes “contributory negligence” which awards damages according to the percentage of responsibility one has in the injury||Proof of negligence is not required. Claim amount does not change depending on proof|
|Where to File||Workers can claim directly through the state or federal court and are entitled to a jury trial||Filed with the employer’s insurance company. Disputes must be directed to the state’s worker’s compensation office|
|Statute of Limitations||Three years from the date of injury||One year from the date of injury|
While worker’s comp in Louisiana does not need proof of negligence to file a claim, FELA operates on the concept of comparative negligence, meaning that, even if the employer is only slightly at-fault for the accident, an employee can still claim their benefits for an accident.
The percentage of the damages awarded will be based on the percentage of negligence the railroad company has in the accident. No amount of negligence is too small in a FELA case. As clarified by the Supreme Court in CSX Transp., Inc. v. McBride, 564 U.S. 685, any kind of negligence on the part of the employer introduces liability. Investigating the circumstances of the accident and providing additional proof may be necessary during litigation to establish that the employer in a FELA suit indeed shares some liability in the accident.
It is also important to note that, while the legal defense that injured workers knowingly accept exposure to workplace hazards and therefore forfeit any rights to claim for damages, it does not apply in FELA cases. Even though railroad employees knowingly work in a hazardous workplace, FELA still allows railroad employees specifically to file injury claims provided that the employer demonstrated a degree of negligence in workplace accidents.
The difference in benefits and protections under the law is a major part of the reason why a railroad workers’ union would support FELA compared to railroad companies supporting a shift to worker’s compensation. While multiple attempts have been made to change the legislation concerning FELA, the US Congress maintains that FELA should be the primary legal recourse for railroad workers who get an injury or occupational sickness.
Benefits Workers Can Claim Under the Law
Aside from the benefits other industry employees are entitled to under worker’s compensation, like lost wages and disability benefits, railroad workers under FELA are also entitled to receive damages for pain and suffering as well as for emotional distress.
A FELA claim can be very similar to personal injury claims in this regard. There are also instances where punitive damages are awarded against the railroad company. A skilled lawyer may be able to inform you whether you can get punitive damages for your case.
In the event that a railroad employee passes away either due to an accident or succumbs to their injuries, their family or representatives are eligible to claim wrongful death compensation benefits under certain circumstances.
Under Louisiana workers’ comp, a deceased worker’s loved ones can only claim a percentage of lost wages, medical bills, and a fixed amount for funeral and burial costs. FELA allows the loved ones of a deceased worker to claim the following benefits:
- Any medical expenses incurred for the injury that caused their loved one’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Future income and benefits the deceased worker’s family lost as a result of the death
- Pain and suffering the injured employee suffered before their death
- The loss of support the deceased would have provided their family if they had not died. This can include childcare, household care, companionship, and the nurturing and guidance for any child or children the deceased had
A wrongful death claim under FELA would follow the same process as a regular wrongful death claim in that a representative of the deceased worker’s estate would have to file the case. If the deceased employee does not have an assigned representative or a will, one would be appointed by the court.
In both workers’ compensation and FELA cases, workers seeking to file a claim for damages against their employers would need experienced legal representation. Our team of skilled Louisiana workers’ compensation attorneys and FELA attorneys at Broussard + Williamson have extensive experience in helping injured workers in and out of the railroad industry. We may be able to help you file a claim for your benefits and file additional claims under FELA. Contact us today at (866) 281-4774 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
How a Skilled FELA Attorney Can Help
Each year, there are about 3000 railroad accidents that cause serious injuries and fatalities acros the country. The rate of fatalities in the railroad industry is approximately double that of other industries. Getting a serious workplace injury can severely impact your and your family’s livelihood as well as your chances of returning to the workplace. Railroad workers in Louisiana are also highly susceptible to exposure to hazardous chemicals which increases the risk for life-threatening diseases.
Filing a FELA case and navigating the complicated legal processes involved with getting compensation, while also recovering from a railroad injury or an occupational disease, can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. Our experienced team of Louisiana FELA attorneys at Broussard + Williamson may be able to help take this load off of your hands so you can focus on recuperating.
When your future and your livelihood are on the line, it is important to get the help of an experienced FELA lawyer who can work closely with you. Attorneys who build effective legal strategies and who would aggressively defend your best interests in court.
Our team of Louisiana lawyers has 30 years of experience as trial lawyers and works closely with experts in the medical field to help determine the maximum amount of compensation our clients can get. By taking smaller, manageable caseloads, we can invest our time in making sure our clients get quality legal services.
Working With an Experienced Louisiana FELA Lawyer
At Broussard + Williamson we leverage our extensive experience in handling personal injury and workers’ compensation cases to help railroad workers claim the benefits they are entitled to under the law.
If you are suffering from an injury or injuries due to a workplace accident in the railroad industry, or have contracted an occupational illness as the result of your work, seeking the help of a skilled lawyer is of great importance. Our attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping protect the rights of injured workers and their families and holding the responsible parties accountable for damages.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Louisiana FELA lawyers, call us today at (866) 281-4774. We serve the areas of Lake Charles, Lafayette, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport.
Broussard + Williamson client
Partner, Trial Lawyer | Railroad Worker & Railroad Crossing
Michael Williamson spent fifteen years representing big corporations and most major insurance companies. He gained invaluable insight into how those businesses work to minimize and deflect their responsibility.
After obtaining ten complete defense jury verdicts in state and federal court, along with many other favorable jury verdicts, he realized his passion – trial by jury, was better suited to representing individuals and their families.
Since 2018 he has exclusively represented people injured by the negligence of others. In that time, he has recovered millions for his clients, including eight settlements of over one million dollars.