FELA Insurance | FELA Coverage

FELA insurance coverage, held by railroad companies operating in the U.S., is the source of compensation for railroad workers who have been hurt or killed on the job. Each year in the U.S., thousands of railroad employees are hurt or die due to the negligence of railroad companies, in scenarios such as:

  • Track and equipment defects
  • Collisions and derailments
  • Slips and falls on slippery surfaces, stairs and equipment
  • An employee's exposure to toxins such as cleaning solvents
  • Highway-rail accidents (when a train and a highway vehicle collide at a train crossing)
  • Human error (the mistakes of coworkers or management)
  • The lifting of heavy cargo loads

FELA Insurance Is Liability Coverage for the Railroad

FELA insurance coverage is, thus, a type of liability coverage for railroad accidents. Unlike Workers' Compensation, which automatically pays compensation for injuries and deaths on the job, FELA (the Federal Employers Liability Act) requires the injured or his/her survivors to prove that the employing railroad was negligent and responsible at least in part for the injury or death.

Although this is a higher standard and burden of proof than that used for Workers' Compensation, the compensation obtained in a FELA claim is usually many times higher than what could be obtained through Workers' Comp. The realm of FELA law is much more complex, though, and as such FELA case merit the attention of skilled and knowledgeable FELA plaintiffs' attorneys.

It's important that an injured railway worker discuss his or her case with a FELA plaintiffs' attorney before turning to a state Workers' Compensation system or even a personal injury law firm.

FELA Insurance Coverage Has Many Exclusions

For example, many aspects of an injury or fatality must be determined, such as whether the injured or killed employee was:

  • A direct employee of the railroad
  • Doing contract work (either on- or off-premises of the railroad)
  • A temporary employee or engaged in a short-term project
  • Hurt while in a moving vehicle (e.g., van or other railroad vehicle)
  • In some cases, the worker's automobile insurance or uninsured driver status

FELA Coverage Endorsements

In addition, the FELA insurance coverage may include unique "endorsements." These are clauses that add liability coverage for specific injuries and/or specific events. Endorsements may have been added after the original insurance coverage was activated. An experienced FELA attorney can best deal with the often-complex FELA insurance policies, endorsements and issues presented in a particular case.

If an injury or fatality during railroad work has impacted you, contact an experienced FELA attorney and get the answers you need.