I have been handling FELA claims on behalf of injured who get hurt on the job since 1997. During that time I have learned most of the special law that applies when a worker for a big railroad company gets hurt on the job. The law that applies when an Amtrak, Norfolk Southern or CSX worker gets hurt is different than the law that applies if I get hurt in my job as a personal injury lawyer or if most other kinds of workers get hurt. The main difference is that it’s a special federal law called the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) that allows the railroad workers to sue their employer for negligence or mistakes made by the railroad company that caused injury or wrongful death. Most of the rest of us instead get workers’ compensation and that typically prevents you from being able to sue your employer no matter how negligent they were.
There are a variety of different rules that apply to railroad conductors, engineers, car men and maintenance away workers that were originally put in over a hundred years ago because of the great dangers involved in the railroad industry. Amputations causing someone to lose their leg or arm and death as a result of working around huge pieces of moving equipment were quite common. The FELA tries to balance the playing field to make sure that railroads put some effort into promoting safety in the rail yard and on trains.
Under the FELA if a railroad is negligent even in the slightest they can be held responsible if their negligence was the cause in whole or even in the slightest part in causing the harms and losses to the railroad worker. This is a relaxed standard that’s easier to prove than would be applicable in a regular car accident case in Virginia where you have to prove that the negligence of the other driver was the proximate cause of the injury.
There are a set of lawyers across the country who specialize in FELA cases. I am proud to be among those. I currently chair the FELA litigation group for the American Association for Justice which is the largest group of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the country. If your loved one is hurt on duty on the railroad I would welcome a call from you no matter where you live or where the accident happened.
The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton, VA personal injury law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling auto injury accident claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at (757) 455 -0077 or contact us through this website.