Many Americans are aware of the traditional workers’ compensation process. But lesser-known is the Federal Employers Liability Act.
With such a vague name, you may be wondering—who is covered by FELA? In fact, it is specific to the railroad industry in particular.
In 2019 alone, there were nearly 4,000 employee injuries and illnesses associated with the railroad industry.
After the railroad employers failed to develop their own effective safety measures, the federal government decided to step in.
But like any federal law, there are further complications in the fine print to be aware of. While working in such a dangerous line of work, it’s imperative that workers remain aware of their rights and privileges under the law.
For a complete overview of the Federal Employers Liability Act, keep reading!
What Is the Federal Employers Liability Act?
The Federal Employers Liability Act—or FELA, for short—was enacted in 1908. It stems from the federal government’s constitutionally granted power to govern interstate commerce.
The law protects employees of one of America’s most dangerous industries: the railroad. The government established this law to attempt to reduce the astronomical accident rate of railroad workers. Plus, it promotes uniformity in both equipment and practices.
FELA law compensates these workers, in the event they are injured on the job. However, in order to secure compensation, the worker must be able to prove the railroad company was at least somewhat negligent in the origin of the injury.
Prior to the enaction of this law, there was virtually no remedy for railroad employees who fell victim to workplace injuries.
The law has actually been a point of controversy since its inception. Both state and federal appellate courts have re-interpreted FELA law thousands of times.
In fact, at the time of FELA’s establishment, railroad employers fought back against it. Railroad unions, on the other hand, favored its adoption.
Since that time, positions have gone the opposite way. Today, railroad employers would rather replace the FELA system with a more mainstream workers’ compensation system. Unions would prefer to maintain the status quo.
FELA vs. Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Though similar, there are a few key differences that set FELA apart from the typical workers’ compensation system found in other industries.
Primarily, the biggest difference is FELA’s fault-based system. In order to secure benefits, the employee in question must prove that their injury was caused by workplace conditions. This negligence can come in whole or in part from:
- A railroad employee
- An agent or contractor
- A faulty piece of equipment
During the legal proceedings, the court follows the doctrine of “comparative negligence.”
This is where the jury determines the portion of negligence that each involved party is liable for. From there, the jury can determine the percentage of the award to be allocated to the injured employee.
Another key difference between FELA and traditional workers’ compensation is the possibility of legal remedy. If the railroad employee is not found to be 100% at fault, there is the potential for a lawsuit in either state or federal court.
This option is not available for claimants of the traditional workers’ compensation process. Plus, FELA awards tend to average much higher than workers’ compensation claims.
Injuries covered by FELA law extend beyond just physical bodily injuries. It also covers illness and injury due to prolonged exposure to substances—like asbestos, for example.
Furthermore, FELA covers injuries stemming from repetitive stress and cumulative trauma.
In addition, mental injuries may be recoverable as well. This includes emotional distress in some cases. But like with physical damages, the employee must be able to prove that the railroad conditions were at fault.
Due to the nature of the industry, you may be wondering—as for contractors, when does FELA apply?
In fact, FELA is very clear in these situations. A contractor hired by the railroad company is considered an extension of that company—and thus, the railroad company still holds the responsibility.
How Does the FELA Claims Process Work?
FELA cases can be brought to court at either the federal or state level. As previously mentioned, the jury decides how much negligence to assign to each party—and thus how much compensation the claimant is awarded.
Special damages can be recovered, based on factors like:
- The nature of the injury
- The extent of the injury
- Past and future pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Past and future medical expenses
In situations in which the worker has died of their injuries, the buck does not stop. Their surviving family members may be thus entitled to compensation.
These monies include coverage for both financial losses, as well as pain and emotional suffering associated with the death.
It’s important to note there is a statute of limitations on these cases. The limit is three years from the day in which the accident occurred. After this time, legal action can no longer be raised under FELA regulations.
With illness or disease caused by workplace conditions that may have a more uncertain date of origin, the clock generally begins running on the date on which the disease was first discovered.
Now You Know About FELA!
Though FELA only covers railroad workers, its legal proceedings have played a heavy hand in establishing precedents in various other tort law issues—even outside of the railroad industry.
With all of the above information, the Federal Employers Liability Act can be broken down a bit more. Though federal laws can appear complicated on the surface, there is often a simpler explanation that can sum up the important parts to understand.
If you liked this content, check out our other legal articles!
Reasons for Hiring Alimony Lawyer
When a marriage ends, it can be a difficult and emotionally charged time for both parties. Many couples can work out an agreement independently, but sometimes it is necessary to hire an alimony lawyer. If you are considering hiring an alimony lawyer, you should keep a few things in mind.
Here are reasons why you may need to hire an alimony lawyer:
You are going through a divorce and need legal assistance with alimony payments
Going through a divorce can be challenging, and navigating alimony payments is a critical part of the process. Seeking the advice of an experienced alimony lawyer can provide invaluable guidance to help protect your interests during this emotionally and financially draining time.
An experienced alimony lawyer New Brunswick has an in-depth working knowledge of the applicable law and will fight for your rights so that you receive fair alimony payments that accurately reflect your financial needs. Additionally, an experienced lawyer with working knowledge in family law can provide skilled representation at all stages of the divorce proceedings. So don’t stress alone; get an alimony lawyer on your side who knows how to handle these complicated issues.
You are unable to come to an agreement with your ex-spouse about alimony payments: Negotiating alimony payments can be a difficult and emotionally charged process. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your ex-spouse, an alimony lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, work through any disagreements, and represent your interests in court if necessary.
With the right guidance and representation, you may be able to settle the issue without going to court. An alimony lawyer understands the complexity of the laws governing alimony payments and can help ensure that the outcomes of negotiations favor both parties involved.
If you’re considering hiring an alimony lawyer, you may feel uncertain about the process. You don’t want to make any mistakes because of your lack of experience, and you don’t want to take on the responsibility alone.
You don’t feel confident handling the situation on your own: It can be difficult to handle a divorce or separation without legal representation. If you’re worried that your spouse will try to take advantage of you during this difficult time, hiring a good attorney can help prevent that from happening.
You want peace of mind when dealing with court documents and other legal matters related to your divorce: An experienced attorney can help ensure that all the paperwork is prepared correctly and that everything goes smoothly in court when it comes time for finalizing things like child custody and support payments.
You want an impartial point of view: Maybe there’s something else going on in your life that is causing stress, and alimony is just the latest thing on your plate. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with an attorney in the past, or perhaps this is a second marriage, and things aren’t so rosy in paradise as they were during the first one. Whatever the reason, hiring an attorney can help you get through this difficult time without any additional stress or pressure from being forced into making decisions that affect both your legal rights and financial future, especially if child support payments are involved.
If any of these apply to you, then it may be worth hiring an alimony lawyer to help you through the process. An experienced lawyer can help ensure you receive the support you deserve and protect your rights during this difficult time.
The Advantages of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Getting a divorce can be a life-changing decision. This can also affect the rest of your life. After deciding to have a divorce, you may be in a fix to decide if to hire or not hire a divorce lawyer. What can you do next after a divorce? Hiring a divorce lawyer can be a hassle; you must decide whom to hire and how much it will cost you. Are you planning on getting a divorce? If so, then you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer.
Getting a divorce can be a daunting task when spouses decide to part ways. Sometimes there can be a conflict about who should get what. There may also be disputes on the custody of the children. Divorce can be associated with the feeling of regret, resentment and failure. But that should not be the case; you can get out of your marriage quickly and smoothly with the help of a lawyer. A divorce lawyer will protect your interests and those of your children. They will also ensure a smooth process and that everything goes in the right direction. Here are the reasons you need to hire a divorce lawyer.
The divorce lawyer has seen a situation similar to yours many times. They know how to handle all the turns and twists that may emerge during the process. Their extensive experience will assist them in dealing with unruly partners and the legal system. An experienced lawyer will help during complications, especially with the divorce terms. In this kind of situation, your lawyer will know what to do.
Navigate the courts
During a divorce, it can be hectic filling out paperwork, meeting deadlines or finding the right person or time. Appearing in court can also be an overwhelming task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the entire process. The proceedings of a divorce usually involve an organized pattern of what different parties must fill in documents. Missing the deadline or some of the documents can cause a lot of work for you or sometimes end the case. By hiring a divorce lawyer, you will not have the stress and hassle of thinking about what must be filed and when. A lawyer will know what to do at the right time, and they submit the paperwork at the right time. A divorce lawyer will also help you in keeping track of court dates and also assist you in navigating the courthouse.
Explaining the law
The law can be complicated, with essential details that are easy to miss, especially for someone not well-versed in the law. The language used in court orders has distinct meanings. Hiring a divorce lawyer will mean hiring someone with knowledge of the law that will help with your divorce. A lawyer will be able to assist you in comprehending the meaning of court orders and how to apply them in your situation,
Hiring a divorce lawyer can be one of the best decisions, especially in divorce proceedings. A knowledgeable lawyer will assist in making sure nothing goes wrong. If you are thinking of a divorce, it’s best to consult the help of a divorce lawyer.
Why having a DUI lawyer is better than any other lawyer during a DUI case
Though everyone blunders occasionally, inevitable mistakes are more high-profile than others. If you’ve ever been arrested for DUI, you know the legal and professional repercussions that can result from a conviction. Keeping this in mind, you are probably weighing all of your choices to lessen this impact on your life. A DUI lawyer such as Alan Pearce is a great option to explore. These experts have dealt with various DUI cases, allowing them to think critically and creatively as they construct the most vigorous defense possible. If you’re still on the fence, these reasons to hire a DUI attorney may sway you.
- Financial Stability
Since DUI attorneys typically demand exorbitant rates, you may be hesitant to retain one. However, a skilled DUI lawyer knows their way around the court system and can help you get through your case quickly. You can save a ton of cash in the long term thanks to this efficient method.
- Opting for the Most Effective Tactic
An accomplished DUI lawyer will know the ins and outs of your case because they will have seen many similar ones in the past. Because of this, they will be able to advise you on whether to negotiate a plea bargain or enter a not-guilty plea.
- More humorous sentence
A solid defense against a DUI charge requires an attorney well-versed in the relevant laws, rules, standards, and precedents. If you have a solid case, your DUI charges can be reduced or dropped altogether.
- Regaining Possession of Your Driver’s License
Although a conviction for driving under the influence often results in license suspension or revocation, a DUI lawyer can help you fight for the reinstatement of your driving privileges and restore some measure of independence.
- Calmness of Mind
Knowing that an experienced professional who knows the system inside and out is handling your case will give you confidence and peace of mind. When weighed against the potential stress of a DUI prosecution, the upfront expense of hiring an attorney is likely to be a bargain.
- Cooperating with the prosecutor
The prosecution’s job is to ensure you get the highest sentence possible under the law. They have a cold, calculating approach and insist on following the rules. No one gives a damn about you, your loved ones, your situation, etc. Here’s where having a competent attorney comes in handy. The prosecution will be persuaded by your lawyer’s efforts to show them the significance of these factors, resulting in a significantly reduced sentence.
- Spending Much Less Time in Court
People often complain that the judicial system moves painfully slowly, meaning that cases can drag on for years as defendants and their attorneys make monthly court appearances. With the help of a competent DUI lawyer, you can skip the waiting and get on with your life as soon as possible.
- The Whole Suit Could Be Dismissed
If you hire a competent DUI lawyer, you can have the entire incident and conviction expunged from your record. Once again, this is the result you’d get if you had a lawyer.
In conclusion, Spending money on a DUI attorney is money well spent. You will be okay with hiring a skilled specialist to bolster your defense, regardless of the outcome of your case.
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