The FELA law was enacted in 1908 because of the thousands of worker deaths suffered annually on the railroads. A powerful piece of legislation, FELA law acts as the workers’ compensation for railroad workers. If injured, railroad workers can file railroad lawsuits to recover damages for railroad injuries. Every railroad solvent lawsuit has been filed under FELA. So far, railroad companies have paid tens of millions of dollars to settle solvents lawsuits.

While unions support FELA laws, railroads have been unsuccessfully trying to change it. Even though FELA law allows compensation if the railroad is judged to be responsible for negligence, workers can go for many years without receiving any compensation. Negligence under FELA law is defined as the railroad company’s failure to implement reasonable care to the employee.

A comparative negligence standard is used for FELA law, unlike typical workers’ compensation. A jury will hear how negligent the railroad company was and will compare that to how negligent the plaintiff may have been. Based on that comparative negligence, the jury will determine what damages should be awarded. A benefit of FELA law versus typical workers’ compensation is the ability to recover losses for pain and suffering since workers’ compensation is based on a predetermined schedule of benefits.

For more information on FELA law, please contact a FELA attorney.