What Is FELA?

The FELA or the Federal Employer’s Liability Act is a law that protects railroad workers who get hurt on the job. Instead of getting workers’ compensation railroad workers get the right to sue their employer for negligence. The law applies to any railroad worker who is involved in interstate commerce which means any of the major freight railroads like Norfolk Southern and CSX, as well as Amtrak and some short-line railroads.

In order to win a FELA claim against the railroad the employee needs to show that someone at the railroad either the supervisors or another employee did something wrong i.e. was negligent or careless.  The railroad is required to provide every worker with a reasonably safe place to work.  If they violate that law then the railroad itself can be held responsible.

The damages in FELA are much broader than what you would get from workers’ compensation.  Under the FELA you not only get your lost wages, medical bills and other expenses but you also are entitled to something for your pain and suffering, permanent injury, and any other harm or loss caused by the railroad’s negligence.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton based railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling catastrophic injury claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina. We 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 or contact us through this website.

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