According to the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OHSA) over 4,000 workers were injured on the job in 2013 (read the report here). You can never predict when you might become injured while on the job. Anything could happen at any time, as you could become injured by a machine that has malfunctioned, or be involved in any number of other accidents at work that is through no fault of your own. But what do you do if you sustain an injury at work that is so severe it prevents you from working? You can file a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) or Workers’ Compensation claim. Many people are confused about these two benefits and aren’t sure who can apply for which, so here is an overview of both FELA and Workers’ Compensation, so you can determine which one applies to you.
Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)
Sustaining an injury while working as a railroad worker could be permanent and could even result in your eventual death without the proper medical treatment. That is why it is extremely important to obtain the benefits that you’re entitled to, should you become hurt while working.
FELA was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1908 to benefit workers who became injured and disabled while on the job. FELA helps ensure that railroad workers are able to receive the compensation and medical treatment that they are entitled to. Prior to the enactment of FELA, many injured railroad workers failed to receive adequate medical care or financial compensation.
If you are a railroad worker and you are disabled or otherwise seriously injured on the job due to your employer’s negligence, then you are qualified to sue for damages in a Federal court. Read our article about railroad injuries here. Of course an attorney will assist you with proving that your employer was negligent, which will need to be established before you can receive any compensation.
This type of coverage is provided by every employer, so if you become injured while on the job you will likely be entitled to this compensation. However, every case is different and an investigation will be conducted to determine whether you are eligible for coverage. It must be proven that you were required to perform the work that led to your injury, and that you didn’t perform the work carelessly. Know more about workers’ compensation coverage here.
Unfortunately, not all employers are fair when it comes to compensating workers who were injured while on the job. Luckily, an attorney can help you to prove your case so that you can receive the benefits you are entitled to. Your experienced lawyer will investigate, perform interviews with possible witnesses and collect pertinent data that can assist with proving your case.
Your employer may offer you a settlement in order to prevent the case from proceeding to trial. It is ultimately your decision whether or not to accept the offer; however, your attorney can advise you of whether you should accept the settlement offer or proceed to court. Every case is different, but if you and your attorney feel that the settlement is fair, then you can very well accept it. In many cases, employers will offer an amount that is much less than what an injured person should be entitled to. Your attorney will help you make this determination and guide you accordingly.
So if you have become injured while working on the job, due to the negligence of your employer, then you will be entitled to either FELA or Workers’ Compensation, as long as you’re able to prove your claim. FELA is available to you only if you are a railroad worker who becomes injured while performing job-related duties, and Workers’ Comp is available to you if you become injured, no matter what employer you might work for.