Every railroad worker can benefit from the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This crucial law serves as a means to recover damages if you are injured on the job as a railroad employee. However, just like workers’ compensation laws and similar protections, you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim legally.
So, what is the statute of limitations on a railroad FELA claim? Let’s answer this question and more in a detailed overview. Alternatively, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 for more information and a free consultation.
What Is the FELA?
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act is a 100-year-old piece of legislation that gives all railroad workers a legal basis to recover damages under certain circumstances. Specifically, if a railroad injury occurs due to the negligence of their employer, another railroad agent, or another railroad employee, they can get their medical bills paid with compensation, similar to workers’ compensation claim damages.
Some circumstances under which you or a loved one may be entitled to compensation include:
- Wrongful death
- Traumatic injuries (e.g., broken bones, hearing loss, etc.)
- Occupational diseases (e.g., lung cancer, asbestosis, etc.)
However, there are several key differences between FELA and workers’ compensation claims. For example, workers’ compensation claims are valid even when no one is at fault for one’s injuries. Negligence does not have to play a factor. In contrast, FELA claims and damages are only available if the wounds of an injured railroad worker are at least partially a consequence of the negligence of another party.
Furthermore, the burden of proof for negligence claims under FELA is much lower than with workers’ comp. With a FELA claim, all an injured worker has to do is prove that their injuries were partially caused because of negligence, not mostly or entirely. If their employer, for instance, is found even 10% responsible for their injuries, the injured worker could receive some compensation.
However, FELA claims are also subject to pure comparative negligence rules. So if a railroad accident is partially the fault of the injured employee, they could see their damages reduced by a certain percentage.
To speak with one of our FELA experts at no charge, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 today!
FELA Statute of Limitations
Like workers’ compensation claims, FELA cases are also subject to a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time limit beyond which an injured worker can’t file a successful claim or lawsuit for their injuries.
There is a three-year statute of limitations for bringing a FELA lawsuit beyond the date of injury. For example, if a railroad worker was injured on August 5, 2022, they would have until August 5, 2025, to file a FELA claim for damages.
Just because this is the maximum time limit doesn’t mean it’s the one you should follow. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury at a railroad company or carrier, you should file a FELA claim right away.
It’s always best to file a claim for damages sooner rather than later because:
- It allows your lawyers to gather more evidence.
- It reduces the likelihood of evidence becoming obsolete or inaccessible.
- Your injuries will be more noticeable, and it will be easier to prove where they came from and whether someone else’s negligence caused them.
When Can You File a FELA Claim?
You can file a FELA claim if:
- You work for a federal railroad company in some capacity.
- Your injuries occurred while on the job or in the course of your normal workplace duties.
- Your injuries occurred at least partially due to the negligence of your employer, another railroad agent or employee, or a similar party.
You don’t have to wait any length of time before filing a FELA claim. In fact, you should file your claim as soon as possible, preferably after you are medically stabilized and have been examined by at least one medical professional.
However, it’s also a good idea to contact knowledgeable workers’ compensation and FELA claim attorneys right away. You should contact an attorney or law firm after seeing a medical professional, then seek out their help with legal advice in filing your FELA claim. You can do this by calling Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visiting us online.
Determining Negligence for a FELA Claim
Remember, negligence for a FELA claim does not have to be overwhelming or total. Your employer or another railroad employee could be 10% responsible for your injuries, and you could still see damages to cover:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income while you recover
- Lost future income
- Loss of ability, if your injuries are debilitating or disabling in some way
- And more
When Should You Contact Attorneys?
It’s a great idea to contact workers’ compensation and FELA attorneys for several key reasons, as knowledgeable attorneys can:
- Gather evidence on your behalf, which can be especially useful while you are recovering from your injuries
- Negotiate for you, either with your railroad employer, another party, or an insurance company
- Fight for you in court, if necessary
Many FELA claims end in a settlement, especially after arbitration and/or mediation. That means your employer or the at-fault party will pay damages to you without contesting your claims in court.
However, this is not universal. For example, your employer may try to claim that your injuries were due to your own negligence and that they had nothing to do with them. If they don’t back down, you could be forced to take your claim to court, at which point it will be decided by a judge or jury.
Experienced legal professionals can help you at this point and throughout the FELA claim process. That’s why you should contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 today.
As respected New York City FELA attorneys, we’ve helped countless New Yorkers just like you with their workers’ comp, personal injury, and FELA claims. We also dedicate ourselves to each of our clients; when you hire us for your case, we won’t rest until you receive the damages you need to pay for your medical bills and more.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one have been injured while working for the railroad, keep in mind that you only have three years from the date of the accident to file a successful damages claim. As such, the sooner you get started, the better; so it’s a good idea to contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers ASAP.
When you contact us online or at 1-516-342-2200, we’ll get to work on your case right away. We’re fully licensed, experienced New York City workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys, and we’ve helped many New Yorkers like you get the damages they deserve after being injured on the job. Moreover, we won’t stop fighting for you™ until a successful outcome has been reached and you have been compensated for your injuries and losses.
We also operate on a contingency fee basis. As a result, we won’t charge you a dime unless we first secure damages for your case. So, please, don’t wait until the statute of limitations looms. Get started with your FELA claim today and let Schwartzapfel Lawyers do the heavy lifting for you!