Let’s start by going over what constitutes a FELA case. Railroad workers face dangerous conditions everyday. The hazardous nature of their work environment can lead to serious injury and even death. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was enacted in 1908 to ensure the safety of railroad workers. Of course, it has since been updated to cover all possible risks and is still very important today. In fact, there are still over 230,000 railroad employees in the country. When a railroad fails to provide a safe environment for its workers, it can be held liable under FELA. Read this blog to learn more about FELA lawsuits, and how to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
Valid FELA Lawsuits
In order to have a valid FELA case, the plaintiff (or injured party) needs to prove negligence on the part of the defendant (or employer). Negligence means that the defendant breached its duty of care by failing to provide a safe work environment for its employees. The employer is legally responsible to not only provide a safe work environment, but also provide any necessary training, rules and regulations enforcement and prevention of harmful acts towards its workers. Any violation of these responsibilities proves liability.
Examples of hazardous railroad work conditions include:
- Runaway machinery – poorly maintained machinery can pose a serious threat to railroad workers
- Improper safety equipment – railroad companies must equip workers with properly maintained safety equipment to avoid injury
- Improper training – because of the high-stakes, it is important that railroad companies properly train employees to spot and avoid safety issues
- Toxins – overtime, exposure to toxic chemicals can lead to severe medical problems.
- Fires and explosions – thankfully less common, but fires and explosions can pose an immediate and serious threat to workers
Like other personal injury claims, it is important that the plaintiff present evidence (or proof of negligence). However, unlike in standard cases, this burden of proof is much lower in FELA lawsuits. Due to the hazardous nature of the job, the defendant’s fault is usually easier to establish. There is less pressure on the plaintiff to show proximate cause (or the link between the defendant’s negligence and the accident that caused the injury). This makes the plaintiff’s case much more valuable.
Obtaining a FELA Settlement
Given the low-bar for burden of liability with FELA cases, most injured railroad workers get the compensation they deserve. In the more valuable cases, the plaintiff has most likely endured significant injury and loss, amounting to higher damages. The compensation (or settlement) won in a FELA lawsuit covers the plaintiff’s wage loss, current and future medical treatment and accounts for the pain and suffering of the plaintiff and his or her family.
Unfortunately, if you are out of work due to injury, it can be tough to get-by before settlement. To make a stressful situation even worse, FELA lawsuits can be quite lengthy. Lawyers must obtain adequate witness statements and experts to show negligence. It is also fairly common for the defendant to purposefully draw out a case, which pressures the plaintiff to settle for a lower amount.
Legal funding and cash advances can help the plaintiff stick through a long trial. Legal funders value a strong case, which makes FELA lawsuits loans very easy to obtain.
FELA Case Value
Though the liability side of FELA claims is a bit more lax than standard negligence in most personal injury claims, you can calculate case value in a similar manner. To understand the value of a FELA lawsuit, it is important to calculate damages. Damages usually fall along the following lines:
- Economic damages from loss of wage – if your out of work as a result of your injury, your settlement should compensate you for lost wages
- Medical damages from treatment of injury – your settlement should include all medical expenses, both from treatment to-date and potential future treatment
- Pain and suffering – settlements often include pain and suffering in excess of directly calculated medical costs and represents the fact that injuries are burdensome and affect your standard of living
FELA Lawsuit Loans
Are you or a loved one the victim of a railroad accident? Valid FELA cases will most likely work out in your favor. However, as with most personal injury cases, there is a long gap between injury and compensation.
Uplift Legal Funding can provide FELA lawsuit loans within 24 hours of speaking to your lawyer. Funding can help cover your medical costs, lost wages and other life expenses so that you can negotiate a higher and fairer settlement. Best of all, if you do not win the case, you do not owe us anything! Apply online or give us a call at (800) 385-3660.