The United States Congress enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in 1908, and FELA is still going strong today. FELA protects railroad workers for occupational hazards related to the rail industry. At the turn of the last century, workers dying in railroad-related accidents was a common occurrence, so the Act extended an opportunity for victims or their survivors to sue for compensation.
Even today, railroad workers are at risk of on-the-job illness or injury in a number of ways. Here are a few examples of leading causes of FELA claims:
- Train accidents and derailments. Such accidents can lead to serious blunt-force impact injuries, amputations and loss of life.
- Burns and electrocution. Electric arc explosions from high-voltage lines can cause serious burns, while contact with uninsulated electrical wires and high-voltage lines can prove debilitating or fatal.
- Hearing loss. A railroad yard is a noisy environment. Several decades of employment there can profoundly impact hearing.
- Toxic exposure. Various cancers and other serious illnesses can be traced to years of exposure to harsh chemical solvents, benzene, asbestos insulation and even welding fumes.
- Office accidents. It's not only trains and trainyards that pose injury risks. Even those who work in railroad industry office environments can confront the same sorts of accidents that office workers face everywhere. For instance, wet stairs can cause falls, precipitating knee or back injuries. Even this sort of occurrence is covered by FELA regulations.
Want to learn more about FELA and how it might affect you if you or a loved one works in the railroad industry? An experienced FELA lawyer can help you understand your options and guide you through the process.