The Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at the Clark Law Firm, P.C. Handle Railroad Worker Injury Claims & Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) Claims
Due to the nature of their work environment, railroad workers have a significantly higher risk of sustaining severe injuries and/or illness on the job than employees in other professions. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries or even been killed during employment as a railroad worker, it is imperative that you contact a New Jersey personal injury attorney that has experience in railroad related injuries and Federal Employers’ Liability (FELA) claims. FELA claims can be complex, as negligence by a railway employer and/or other railway employee(s) must be proven in order for a claim to be successful. As such, the experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, P.C., can review the circumstances surrounding your accident and advise you of the best course of action.
Severe injuries can cause a great deal of pain and suffering and leave you or a loved one with significant current and future medical expenses as well as lost wages. In this time of need for you and your family you will want to ensure that your rights are protected. Please contact the attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, P.C. so that we may assist you in ensuring that you and your family receive the compensation you are entitled to.
What Is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)?
Unlike no-fault Worker’s Compensation laws, railroad workers that sustain injuries on the job must prove their case under FELA, which was passed by Congress in 1907. FELA cases are personal injury claims that railroad workers file to obtain compensation when they are injured on the job; however, under FELA, proof that the railroad worker’s injury or illness was caused by the negligence of the railroad worker’s employer (such as unsafe practices or equipment) and/or by the negligence of another railroad worker must be proven.
Members of Congress at the time of the enactment of FELA believed that since the railroad industry was innately dangerous, it was inevitable that railroad workers would be injured and the costs associated with these injures should be borne by the railroad industry. They also believed that in the efforts to reduce costs, over time inevitably a safer railroad work environment would be created. This has certainly been the case over the last 100 years. Due to technological developments and safer railroad practices, there has been a significant reduction in railroad worker injuries. Nonetheless, they are still all too frequent, and when they occur the injuries are usually severe.
Types and Causes of Rail Accidents | Damages for Injured Railroad Workers
Despite the technological and safety advancements in the railroad industry over the last century, railroad workers are still at very high risk for sustaining severe injuries due to the nature of their work and attendant work conditions. Railroad workers are in an environment where train accidents occur – such as train collisions and derailments. They often deal with heavy cargo loads and heavy machinery, accidents at roadway train crossings, defective tracks or equipment, and can be exposed to toxins or hazardous substances. The mere weight and speed of most trains can make it near impossible to stop while in transit in order to avoid an accident.
Injured railroad workers can recover damages as a result of their railway accident where negligence was involved. Compensation may be awarded for:
- Medical Expenses – both current and future medical care (e.g., physical therapy)
- Loss of wages – both past and future if the victim is unable to return to work for a period of time
- Permanent Injuries and/or Disfigurement
- Pain & Suffering
- Emotional Anguish
Steps to Take If You Have Been Involved in a Rail Accident
Obtaining appropriate medical treatment is first and foremost. The initial focus must be for the injured party to obtain the care they need.
It is important to remember that once the railroad accident occurs and injuries are sustained, there is a strong possibility that a lawsuit may be needed in order to recover damages. The railroad employer will be aware of this, and may take steps to minimize their responsibility and related loss. The victim should avoid making statements, verbal or written, to the employer regarding the accident. What they may say may be used against them should litigation be initiated. Also, the victim should make note of any witnesses so their attorney can call on them when appropriate. It is best to do this as soon as possible – it is not uncommon to forget the details over time.
At this point, it is best to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer that can provide advice as to how to proceed. This applies to family members of deceased railroad employees as well. The personal injury attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, P.C., are experienced in handling railroad accidents resulting in personal injury and/or wrongful death as well as FELA cases and are well aware of the tactics that may be used by railroad employers to minimize their liability. We will serve as your advocate working to protect your rights and will pursue damages for your injuries as well as pain and suffering as a result of accident. If there was a railroad worker and/or railroad employer that acted negligently and you sustained injures as a result, or a wrongful death occurred, the negligent party or parties should be held accountable. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will guide you through this process so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.