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Frequently Asked Questions about FELA

Q: What is FELA?

A: FELA stands for the Federal Employers' Liability Act. FELA provides that common carriers by railroad that are engaged in interstate commerce must provide employees with reasonably safe workplaces, tools and equipment. If railroads fail to do so, they can be held liable for damages for employee injuries or death caused by that failure.

Q: I'm a railroad worker and I was injured on the job. Can I recover damages for my injuries from my employer?

A: Under FELA, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries if you can establish that your injury occurred while you were working within the scope of your employment with the railroad; your employment furthered the railroad's interstate transportation business; the railroad was negligent; and the railroad's negligence in some way caused your injury.

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If an equipment defect causes an injury to a railroad worker, the employer will likely be liable for those injuries under FELA, based on its failure to properly inspect the work environment.

FELA Attorneys with National Practice

At Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P., in Houston, Texas, our FELA attorneys Link represent clients across the United States who have been injured as railroad employees. With over 40 years of combined experience, we handle claims from California to Louisiana, from Texas to Ohio. We understand the FELA process and will work hard to help you get full and fair compensation for your losses. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

FELA - An Overview

The Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) created a cause of action for damages for injuries or death caused by the negligence of a common carrier by railroad engaging in interstate or foreign commerce. FELA is a remedial statute that is liberally construed by courts. It supersedes common law and state laws that cover the liability of railroads for injuries to employees who work in interstate commerce. If you are a railroad employee who was injured on the job or if a family member died while working for a common carrier by railroad, you may have a claim for damages under FELA. An attorney at Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P. in Houston, Texas, who has experience handling FELA cases can evaluate your situation.

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Railroads' Duties under FELA

When Congress enacted the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) for the protection of railroad workers nationwide, it not only created a system in which injured workers could recover compensation for their injuries, it also established a duty for railroads to provide employees with a reasonably safe workplace. This duty is non-delegable. If you are a railroad worker who was injured on the job, or if a family member who worked for a railroad died in an accident at work, it is important to speak to an attorney.

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FELA and Workplace Safety Regulations

One of the easiest ways to prove that a railroad company is liable for your injuries under FELA is to establish that your injuries were caused by the railroad's violation of some federal workplace safety regulation that protects railroad employees. One such law is the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994. In addition, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards and regulations apply to work done by railroad employees. An experienced FELA attorney can determine which workplace safety regulations are applicable to your case.

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FELA Lawsuit Chronology

If you are a railroad employee and you were injured on the job, you may be a little unsure of what to expect when you file a claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). A lawsuit is complicated, and it can be full of unpleasant surprises and frustrating delays. While every lawsuit is different, there are some general similarities common to all civil suits, including FELA claims. This article provides a chronology of how a lawsuit generally proceeds. An experienced FELA attorney can explain these steps in greater detail and guide you through the process.

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FELA - What To Do If You Are Injured

The events that occur immediately after any workplace injury are often the most critical to the rights of the injured employee, and claims under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) are no different. If you or a loved one was injured while employed as a railroad worker, speak to a FELA attorney to learn the steps and precautions you should take after the incident to ensure that the right to recover compensation under FELA is not compromised.

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FELA Resource Links

Federal Railroad Administration
From the US Department of Transportation, this site includes information on railroad development, safety and legislation.

National Transportation Safety Board
A government agency that is concerned with transportation safety issues and investigating the causes of railroad, aviation, marine and pipeline accidents.

National Labor Relations Board
An independent federal agency concerned with representation, investigation and remedies for unfair labor practices by employers and unions.

Association of American Railroads
A trade association for the railroad industry in the US. This site contains information presented from an industry perspective.

US Department of Labor
The Department of Labor administers a variety of federal labor laws and helps workers and retired persons by improving working conditions and protecting retirement and health care benefits, among other things.

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in-depth overview FELA click here


In re Ricky Joe Jones, Cheryl Ann Jones, Debtors

Date Decided: Jan 25th, 2011
Decided By: U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit(Bankruptcy) (Federal) read more

Leandrew Lewis v. CSX Transportation, Inc.

Date Decided: Mar 10th, 2011
Decided By: Ohio Southern District Court (Federal) read more

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Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails Causing Explosion & Fire in Alabama Wetlands

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Railroad Worker Injured in Midvale, Utah TRAX Train Crash

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CSX Train Derails in Millcreek Township, PA

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Three CSX Railroad Workers One Motorist Injured at Bradner, OH Rail Crossing

 BRADNER, OH – Three CSX railroad employees were injured at a rail crossing just south of Bradner, OH on October 28, when a motorist drove around construction barriers and hit a utility pole and... read more

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