FELA--otherwise known as the Federal Employers Liability Act is a great tool and protection for an injured railroad worker.
FELA allows an injured railroad worker to be compensated due to "negligence" on the part of the Carrier. Injured railroad workers do not fall under state worker's compensation laws and as such, is vastly different. It is important to educate yourself on FELA and how it works and how it protects you.
All rail workers are automatically covered under FELA under Federal law as part of your employment relationship with a railroad Carrier.
Another term synonymous with FELA is Designated Legal Counsel. This group of attorneys specialize in handling injured railroad worker cases. These law firms must be approved by the BLET to be considered as Designated Legal Counsel. FELA attorneys can offer guidance, advice or representation to an injured employee. There are several Designated Legal Counsel firms around the country to assist you, and this Committee will not recommend one firm over another. It is left to the individual member to make a determination if and when a DLC firm should be used.
What is FELA? By clicking this link, you will be redirected to the National Division BLET website where it describes FELA in greater detail and explains why this federal law is so beneficial to a railroad employee.
Personal Injury Checklist
If you are injured while on-duty keep the following list of items in mind. If you should ever have a question about an employee right or benefit, contact a DLC firm for guidance
- You MUST report your injury to a manager and/or co-worker
- Seek medical care from YOUR doctor or medical facility of your choice, not the Carrier's choice.
- DO NOT allow Carrier officer(s) in the examination room with you. You HAVE the right to make them leave.
- You MUST complete the prescribed accident/injury form as soon as possible after the injury. This is the only written document you are required to complete.
- Be concise, but brief.
- List all witnesses to the accident.
- List defective equipment that contributed to the accident/injury.
- Describe work tools, events, or conditions that contributed to your injury.
- Secure a copy of your written report for your records.
- Remember, you must prove negligence on the part of the Carrier to receive compensation.
- There is no rule or requiring you to give written or oral statement to a claim agent.
- You MUST, if asked, describe the incident to a company officer and tell what happened.
- KEEP records of witnesses, or persons that might have known the conditions that caused you to be injured.
- Do NOT sign a medical release of information to the Carrier without getting legal advice.