Railroad workers face unique challenges and risks in their line of work. To address the specific concerns of those employed in the railroad industry, lawmakers enacted the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.
This legislation protects the rights and well-being of railroad workers in a few ways in the unfortunate event of accidents on the job.
Definition of negligence
Unlike traditional workers’ compensation systems, FELA requires railroad workers to prove that their injuries resulted from the negligence of their employer, a co-worker or the conditions of the workplace. However, FELA provides a broad definition of negligence.
This definition includes inadequate training, faulty equipment, unsafe working conditions and the negligence of a co-worker. It also allows for comparative negligence, which adjusts damages for the degree of each party’s negligence. This means that even if a railroad worker is partially responsible for their injuries, they may still be eligible for compensation. The broadness of this definition allows railroad workers to seek compensation in a wide range of circumstances.
FELA covers not only injuries from accidents but also occupational diseases. Railroad workers often face exposure to hazardous materials and conditions that may lead to long-term health issues. FELA provides for conditions that develop over time due to workplace exposures.
FELA also allows injured railroad workers to seek damages for various types of losses. These might include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. This holistic approach acknowledges the diverse impact of accidents on the lives of workers. It also provides a comprehensive framework for seeking compensation.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act serves as a cohesive safeguard for railroad workers in the aftermath of accidents. It establishes a comprehensive and equitable framework to protect the rights and well-being of those working in the industry.