In 1908, Congress passed the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) in order to protect and compensate railroad workers and their families for both personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from railroad-related accidents.Unlike workers’ compensation claims, FELA has a fault-based system in which a worker must be able to prove negligence on the part of a railroad employer, associate, or equipment manufacturer and that the negligence directly led to injuries.
FELA uses comparative negligence, meaning that even if you were somewhat responsible for your accident, your claim won’t be barred. In fact, you can be mostly at fault and still recover damages with a FELA action. For more information contact our Florida railroad accident lawyer.
Train Accident In Florida
When a train accident results in injury, there may be cause to file a negligence claim against the train’s owners and/or operators. Railroads are considered common carriers. Common carriers are entities that transport people or goods in exchange for a fee. Common carriers are held to a higher standard of care than traditional drivers and are responsible for ensuring that their passengers and cargo safely reach their destination. If failure to provide a high standard of care leads to an accident, the carrier can he held liable for injuries or wrongful death.
Causes of Train Accidents In Florida
Train accidents can be caused numbers different factors including, but not limited to:
- Defective equipment
- Mechanical problems
- Driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Excessive speeding or other reckless behavior
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inexperience
What types of injuries do railroad workers suffer?
An injury must occur within the course and scope of a railroad worker’s employment in order to be covered under FELA. Such injuries can include, but are not limited to:
- Hearing loss
- Back and neck injuries
- Asbestos exposure
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures/breaks
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Heavy lifting injuries
- Slip and fall injuries
Due to the inherently dangerous nature of railroad work, injuries sustained on the job can be catastrophic. Illnesses as a result of toxic chemicals can be long-term and deadly.
Many train accidents can be attributed to maintenance issues, defective products or human error. If an owner or operator is proved to be negligent in a train accident that caused injuries or death, the victims or the victims families may be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Additionally, product liability lawsuits may be brought against railroad companies or manufacturers due to defective equipment.
Railroad Crossing Accidents
Railroad crossing are inherently dangerous and a railroad company will have strong defenses in place to shield them from liability if an accident occurs. If there is no statute requiring gates at a railroad crossing, then there is no duty to supply them. However, for crossings where there is heavy traffic or where a view of an oncoming train may be obstructed, a railroad company may be found negligent in not providing gates.
Likewise, the obstruction a a view of an oncoming train may prove a breach in care. Broken or poorly maintained lights or signals can result in a breach of duty. Also, train operators must act with care and offer warning of an oncoming train, usually through the use of a bell or whistle. If a train operator neglects to give warning that a train is approaching a crossing, he or she may be held liable. If you have any questions regarding liability at a railroad crossing, contact the Fort Myers personal injury attorneys from the law office of Wolf & Pravato.
What damages can I recover under FELA?
Federal Employers’ Liability Act is the exclusive remedy in any action brought by a railroad employee against his or her employer. Because FELA requires railroads to exercise reasonable care to provide every railroad employee a safe place to work, failure to do so can result in negligence claims against them. Under FELA, railroad employees may be able to recover the following damages due to on-the-job injuries:
- Lost earnings, both past and future
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Payment for a reduced ability to work due to the injuries suffered
Railroad employers are under no obligation to pay compensation unless ordered by a court. This means that you will need to file a lawsuit to recover damages. It is important to work with a law firm that is familiar with FELA and the criteria necessary to recover damages in a negligence claim against a railroad. For more help contact our Florida railroad accident attorneys.
Contact The Florida Train Accident Lawyers at The Law Office Of Wolf & Pravato
Train accident claim can be complex, particularly if you are trying to file a claim against a government entity. Do not let time run out. Contact the law office of Wolf & Pravato as soon as possible after your accident. Justice is not automatic; we will fight for you.
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