Attorneys Protecting Railroad Workers’ Rights Under FELA
Although railroad and railyard jobs have become much safer over the past century, it is still dangerous work. One wrong move (by anyone) can cause you serious injury or even permanent disability. You may wonder: What options do I have after a devastating accident?
If you are a railroad employee anywhere in the United States, you are protected under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). This is the law that governs railroad employee injury claims, and it covers workers injured on trains or while working on railroad property or equipment. The attorneys at Armbruster, Dripps, Winterscheidt & Blotevogel, LLC, are nationally known and highly regarded for their work on FELA claims. Our extensive knowledge of the law often allows us to see opportunities and details that other attorneys might miss.
Below, we’ve provided an overview of the FELA claims process and what to expect if you’ve been injured.
Reporting The Accident And Dual Investigations
As with any workplace injury, you’ll need to report the accident to your employer in a timely manner. It is a wise idea to contact a FELA attorney as soon as you can, even before formal proceedings begin. Once you fill out a report, the railroad will then begin investigating the accident, and your attorney will be conducting his own investigation. This ensures that your employer’s observations are not the only version of events on the record.
Settling A Claim Or Advancing Toward Litigation
If there is general agreement between all parties about what happened and who was at fault, your lawyer and the railroad may attempt to negotiate a settlement. If no settlement can be reached (or if talks are not even possible), your attorney will take the formal steps toward pursuing litigation. He will file a civil action that the railroad is compelled to respond to. Both sides then go into the discovery process, which is a fact-finding and evidence-gathering endeavor in preparation for trial.
During this time, both parties can file motions to have parts of the case dismissed to better focus the scope of the lawsuit and to give themselves a potential advantage. There may be other attempts to settle or otherwise resolve the case ahead of trial, including mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Taking The Case To Trial
If all attempts to dismiss or settle the case have failed, it advances to trial. The case can be decided by a judge or jury, depending on which option was chosen ahead of time. Attorneys for both parties present their arguments and supporting evidence, and a judge or jury rules in favor of you (the plaintiff) or the railroad (the defendant).
If unsuccessful at trial, you do have the option to appeal to a higher court. Although this is statistically unlikely to change the outcome, our firm has had some notable successes in FELA appellate work. Hopefully, however, appeals won’t be necessary.
Don’t Be Afraid To Assert Your Rights
Some workers suffer serious injuries after spending their entire careers working for the railroad. They are scared to seek compensation because they worry they will be fired or suffer other forms of retaliation. Don’t let those fears stop you from filing a claim. Our attorneys are here to protect your rights throughout the process as we also pursue compensation on your behalf.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Case With A FELA Attorney For Free
Over the years, our firm has represented injured employees of Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific Railroad, Illinois Northern Railroad and others. We believe that no company is too big or powerful to take on, and we see cases through to the very end.